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7 Demographic Indicators you should be Visualising

It’s so easy to quickly analyse and visualise demographic indicators of your targeted population.  Most field teams in the world have SO MUCH DATA that’s just sitting around on various laptops or servers or hard drives.  And no one’s using it, because there is literally NO TIME to analyse it, and NO CAPACITY to sort out the most efficient way to use all of it.

If you keep reading, you’ll see 7 examples of demographic indicators you should be visualising with your data:

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  1. Gender
  2. Sex/age disaggregation
  3. Disability data
  4. Household size summaries
  5. Displacement status of households
  6. Ethnicity
  7. Religion

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With mobile data collection tools, like Kobo, ONA, SurveyCTO, and ODK – it means it’s easier than ever to collect mountains of data for your projects.  Even if you don’t use mobile data collection, you probably have boxes upon boxes of paper data, filled out and shoved into binders and folders.  You might have a few data entry assistants who dutifully copy those paper forms into an Excel spreadsheet.  And maybe you even use that Excel sheet sometimes to complete a donor report.

BUT…for many humanitarian and development teams out there – there just isn’t the TIME nor the KNOW-HOW to turn all that data into actionable insights.  I mean, you could turn everything into nicely-written reports – but #aintnobodygottimeforthat!

My favourite tools for data analysis: Excel and Qlik Sense!

Now, going into all the ins and outs of data analysis for all your indicators for all your sectors with each of these tools is going to take some time, so be patient – but literally within minutes you’re going to see some results straight away.  So let’s get started.

Qlik Sense and Excel

Demographic Indicators you should Visualise

Almost all data collection collects demographic data.  Age. Gender. Nationality. Disability.  It’s always a good idea to have a good understanding of whatever population your serving by visualising demographic indicators.

Here are 7 chart examples of demographic data visualisations that you can create:

1. Gender breakdown.

Gender Chart

2. Sex-age pyramid.

I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial for how to create a gender/age population pyramid, if you want to go check it out.

Featured Image Pyramid Chart


3. Disability.

When assessing disabilities in your humanitarian or development project, you can use the Washington Group’s 6 short questions for assessing disability.

Disabilities Chart

4. Average Household Size.

In the below chart, you can see that you can use an overall indicator of just “average household size” (shown as 5.31), but you can also use a bar chart that shows the distribution of household sizes across your targeted population – so you can see if the below chart that household sizes range from 1 person to 14 people, and MOST households have 4 or 5 people in them.

HH Size Chart

5. Displacement Status.

In most complex emergencies, you may be reaching:

  • refugees (people who have fled their home country and are now displaced in another country),
  • internally displaced people (IDPs) (people who have fled their home, but are still in their home country)
  • host communities (people who are still in their own homes, and who now have refugees or IDPs living with or among them)

You also will find that displaced people have varying degrees of vulnerability based on how long they’ve been displaced.  For example, a newly-displaced family may not have social connections or all the cooking utensils they need.  Families who have been displaced for 1 year, 2 years, or longer, may have more social capital and are more established.  Alternatively, families who have been displaced a long time may also have run out of savings, so may be more vulnerable once again.  It’s all based on your context.

Displacement Status Chart

6. Nationality/Ethnicity.

Depending on your context, nationalities and ethnicities can have a big impact on how you deliver your programme (due to inter-ethnic rivalries or conflicts, etc).  You need to understand the population you’re serving, so you don’t favour one ethnic group over another in a conflict – you need to remain impartial in delivering aid.

Ethnicity Chart

7. Religion.

Religion can also impact how you deliver aid, and you need to continue to remain impartial as you deliver aid – reaching all religions.  Understanding major religions can also help you tailor your humanitarian messages appropriately, ensuring you don’t use inappropriate imagery or words that may be offensive to the population you’re reaching.

By Janna

Janna is an aid worker, an engineer, a mom, a wife, and a self-declared data-lover! Her mission is to connect with every field worker in the world to help the humanitarian sector use information management and technology to make aid faster and more accountable.