TITLE: Population Reference Bureau

ACCESS: http://www.prb.org/

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) Web site provides a comprehensive virtual gateway to data and reports on population trends. PRB is a private, not-for-profit organization that has for over 70 years focused on "providing timely and objective population information" in both print and electronic formats. PRB's mission is to disseminate data and to analyze its implications in a nonpartisan manner, while working collaboratively with many worldwide data collection agencies.

Researchers exploring the main page of this site will find a balance of text, graphics and population facts, as well as a centralized column of links that highlight new PRB reports. Most useful to first-time users is the access by topic, available from the left sidebar menu, which includes 16 subjects ranging from education to gender to income and race. Also found here are menu options for the six major regions of the world, and links for quick access to PRB's main focus areas of health, environment, and population trends. A user who selects a topical heading, for example "Income/Poverty," will then get a list of PRB articles, datasheets and reports, most in PDF format, such as State Profiles of Child Well-Being.

These reports frequently include useful graphs and statistics. The authors, in most cases, are academic scholars, health professionals, and foreign government officials.

Other features of interest on this site are the "DataFinder," which offers searching by 95 demographic variables for 220 nations of the world, as well as for the United States and individual states. Students will appreciate the extensive "Glossary of Population Terms," which includes dozens of definitions related to the study of demographics. Other popular and frequently accessed features include the "Graphics Bank" and the "World Population Data Sheet." Researchers can also register for free e-mail updates on population issues, and the site can be accessed in French and Spanish. At the time of this review, the site's search feature was still in progress. The site is relatively current, with PRB noting that updates are provided every three weeks.
The PRB site describes its intended audience as educators, policy makers and the media, but librarians and researchers alike will also find it valuable for its authoritative analysis of dynamic issues and trends in population. The site will be valuable for both domestic and international population study, and is recommended for academic audiences and subject specialists.

Barbara Hillson
George Mason University

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