Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Pastoralism
Title Where have all the nomads gone? Fifty years of statistical and demographic invisibilities of African mobile pastoralists
Author(s)
Volume 5
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 1-22
URL http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13570-015-0042-9/fulltext.html
Abstract
There is considerable interest in the numbers and population dynamics of mobile African pastoralists alongside a recognition that they are probably undercounted or excluded from many data sources because of the difficulties in enumerating mobile individuals. In the Sustainable Development Goals where it is anticipated that everyone will be counted and their characteristics measured, it is important to develop appropriate strategies for including mobile pastoralists. I document the extent to which mobile African pastoralists have been invisible in the demographic record in the last half century and analyse the diverse pathways by which these invisibilities have been brought about in census and survey data collection exercises in different countries.
A careful review of available documentation for censuses and Demographic and Health Surveys for the band of countries from Mauritania across to Kenya reveals heterogeneous patterns of pastoral nomad statistical invisibility with different forms and intensities according to national and socio-political context. Whereas there was substantial statistical invisibility of mobile pastoralists in the 1980s and 1990s in both data sources, deliberate exclusion has been much reduced in recent years, although there remain issues of clarity and definition.
Although the availability of demographic and statistical data on mobile pastoralists is improving, it is impossible to document with any accuracy any transformations in the numbers of these populations over the last half century. Considerable work on developing appropriate categories and definitions needs to be undertaken if statistics on the characteristics of mobile pastoralists are to be appropriately represented in the Sustainable Development Goals.

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