World: The Great Head Count

AT the stroke of 12 one night this month, church bells rang, sirens wailed and gongs boomed the length and breadth of Ghana. The noise signaled neither a national holiday nor a sneak air attack. It was meant simply to remind Ghanaians that a new census was about to begin.

While the U.S. early next month will take its 19th census since 1790, heads are also being counted in some 90 other countries and territories—from the U.S.S.R. to Greenland—during this decennial year. When all the figuring is done, roughly half of the world's 3.6 billion people will have been accounted for....

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