The Sum of the People: How the Census Has Shaped Nations, from the Ancient World to the Modern Age

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$30.00  $27.90
Basic Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.2 X 1.4 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author
Andrew Whitby is an economist and data scientist with a PhD in econometrics from the University of Oxford. Most recently, he worked in the development data group of the World Bank, where he was coeditor of the Atlas of the Sustainable Development Goals. He lives in Brooklyn.
"In The Sum of the People, Andrew Whitby tells a gripping tale of humanity, civilization, and power. If you never imagined that a book about the census and the statisticians who conduct it could be a page-turner, think again. At a time when the need for the census is being challenged amid a tide of online big data, this book is also a deeply thought-provoking read."--Diane Coyle, author of GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History and Bennett Professor of Public Policy, University of Cambridge
"Humans spend much effort counting themselves. Always have, always will. Why? To control, conscript, and tax; but, then, also to hold accountable the powerful people who control, conscript, and tax. Andrew Whitby, alert to this duality, instructs and entertains as he brilliantly travels across the census landscape. Literally, a tour de force."--Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Columbia University, and former director of the US Census Bureau
"When we hear census, we think of numbers and statistics. But Andrew Whitby shows that the history of the census is an amazingly fascinating and illuminating story, and in The Sum of the People, he tells that story eloquently and persuasively. A real page-turner!"--Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, coauthor of Big Data
"This is a wonderful book. The history of the census may not at first appear to be a particularly hot topic, but Andrew Whitby's vigorous style, fine story-telling, and detailed knowledge combine to form a riveting narrative. Who would have thought that simply counting people could be such a deeply contested issue?"--David Spiegelhalter, author of The Art of Statistics