Population 57(4/5), 753-761 (translated from French by SR Hayford).

**ISSN/ISBN:** 1634-2941
**DOI:** 10.3917/popu.204.0761

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**Abstract:** The “ﬁrst signiﬁcant digit” of a number is its leftmost non-zero digit. For example, the ﬁrst signiﬁcant digit of the number 325 is 3 and the ﬁrst signiﬁcant digit of 0.8732 is 8. It might be expected that the ﬁrst signiﬁcant digits of any given series of numbers, or of a set of numbers measuring any given phenomenon, are randomly distributed. Nothing of the sort: in most series found in the real world, ﬁgure 1 appears more often than ﬁgure 2, which in turn appears more often than ﬁgure 3, and so on. The purpose of this note is to illustrate this rule, known as Benford’s law, using data for the populations of all world countries, and to show its underlying logic, which in this particular case, relies on the pattern of population growth.

**Bibtex:**

```
@article{,
title={Do populations conform to the law of anomalous numbers?},
author={Sandron, Fr{\'e}d{\'e}ric},
journal={Population},
volume={57},
number={4},
pages={753--761},
year={2002},
publisher={INED},
ISSN={1634-2941},
DOI={10.3917/popu.204.0761},
URL={http://www.cairn-int.info/journal-population-2002-4-page-753.htm},
}
```

**Reference Type:** Journal Article

**Subject Area(s):** General Interest