Good decisions rely on reliable data. That’s one of the reasons governments are urged to make a full accounting of their people, and how and where they live, every ten years. It’s the reason UNFPA is providing technical support to help some 70 countries complete a population and housing census during the 2010 round (2005-2014).
The goal of UNFPA’s Special Initiative on the Census is to ensure no developing country fails to carry out a Population and Housing Census either due to financial constraints or lack of technical capacity. Toward this end, UNFPA has also developed the Census Portal—an interactive database of technical information, especially useful for National Statistical Offices.
UNFPA’s assistance does not end with the enumeration: The Fund helps countries to ensure that census data are carefully analyzed, widely disseminated, and used by governments to prepare their development plans and programmes.
Although a census is one of the most complex and expensive peacetime exercises a nation undertakes, the data it generates can be invaluable.
Census data can, for example, highlight sex-ratio imbalance, identify trends in migration, fertility, nuptiality and population ageing. Such information is the bedrock of almost all aspects of human, social and economic development. It helps governments determine the number of schools, hospitals or highways to be constructed, or the kind of programmes that should target young and older people, as well as women. Censuses thus contribute to reducing poverty, ensuring sustainable development and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality.