Our website is fully functional. Now what?

Our website is fully functional. What are our new priorities?


Antoine Bello · October 21, 2023

We now consider the site of the Population Project to be fully functional. Visitors can now search existing records, edit them and create new ones in a matter of seconds. Creating an account – which doesn’t even require an email address – unleashes additional features, such as the ability to bookmark records of interest and stay on top of their edit history.

We won’t release additional features for a while. The Population Project is a basic register that contains only a handful of data points for each human (full name, sex, date and place of birth). It needs to be easy to query but the plan has never been to transform it into a social network or to gamify its use.

We will now focus on introducing new countries. Up next should be Brazil (our first Latin American country), Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru. We only release countries for which we have a significant amount of data, at least a few percent of the entire population. We’ve also drastically raised our standards, by requiring all lists to meet at least two of the three following conditions:

  • It is official, i.e. compiled by a state or municipal organization.

  • Names are properly separated (“Smith, John C.” instead of “John C. Smith”).

  • Each record includes a date or year of birth.

We’re also developing a bot (codename Roamy) that will crawl the web for us, searching for all types of lists (PDF, Excel, PHP, etc.) containing names and dates. Roamy’s first prototype is showing exceptional promise. It took us two years to collect the first 50,000 lists, mostly manually. Roamy will let us accelerate that pace, including in countries that don’t rely on the Roman alphabet.

 Care to help the Population Project? Here are a few ways you can make a difference – and earn our eternal gratitude.

  • At the minimum make sure that your own record exists and is accurate.

  • Create or share their records with the members of your first circle. Spread the word!

  • Visit the site regularly to follow our progress (367 million at last count).

  • Know journalists? Please point them in our direction. We need media coverage in as many countries as possible.

  • Get more involved: from social media animation to linguistics to machine learning, we will put your special skills to good use! Write us at volunteer@thepopulationproject.org