Thursday, May 8, 2008


1. What is a Population and Housing Census?

A population and housing census is a count of every person and building in the country. In addition to knowing 'how many are we' it is vital to know 'who are we' in terms of age, sex, religion, education, occupation and other important characteristics, as well as 'where do we live' in terms of housing, access to water and other essential facilities.

2. When will the census be conducted?

The Census is conducted every ten years. The last census was in May 2000 and therefore another is due in May 2010.

3. Why is the census conducted every ten years?

A census is a massive statistical operation which is very costly. It involves accurate mapping of the entire country, recruitment of hundreds of field workers, extensive advertising and promotion to get public acceptance and timely processing and dissemination of the data collected, using modern technology. Such an enormous exercise cannot be done more frequently without incurring significant opportunity costs.

4. What are some of the benefits of a Population and Housing Census?

If planners know 'how many are we', 'who are we' and 'where we live, they can estimate our needs for food, shelter, education, health, transport, employment, recreation and other amenities and they can do this at very small levels of geography.

5. Is the Census compulsory?

Yes it is! The Statistics Act Chapter 19:02 entrusts to the Census Officer who is the Director of Statistics the legal authority and responsibility to conduct the census. Closer to the census date, Cabinet would approve the Census Order and Census Regulations for viewing by the public. In some countries, census day is a national holiday and persons remain at home until they are enumerated. In some countries too, there is a fine or penalty for persons who do not cooperate with census officers.

6. What are the consequences if a number of persons have not been enumerated?

The count would not be accurate and Planners would be basing their policies on evidence that is not quite reliable.

7. What must I do to be counted?

During the census period, specially identified enumerators visit every household in the country. When visited, be sure to cooperate by responding to all the questions on the census questionnaire. If you are not visited please call or email the Central Statistical Office at the numbers and address published.

8. What will be done with the information that I provide?

All information provided would be strictly confidential. Census personnel are required to swear to an Oath of Secrecy. The information you provide would be aggregated and published. For example, you will see a table on total population by age and sex. Age would be tabulated by groups, eg. 0-5yrs, 6-10 yrs etc. and the number of males and females in each category will be reported. Once you have been interviewed by the census enumerator you will be counted in the tabulations.

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