Feature Story

15 November 2010

Ensuring Everyone Counts Requires Counting Everyone

Census Portal and Radio Series Highlight the Importance of Reliable Data

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 also highlighted the importance of the census through World Population Day activities in some 80 countries, including the use of an animated video that captures the important of being counted.

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.

To highlight the importance of the census -- and its operational complexity – UN Radio, supported by UNFPA, travelled to Ghana, Indonesia and Liberia to create a six-part series the Census: A Signpost to a Better Future. The series includes:

Census: Looking ahead to Ghana
16 August 2010
Listen | Download

LIBERIA – CENSUS: LOOKING BACK
6 August 2010
Listen | Download

Overlooked Contribution to Human Development
8 July 2010
Listen | Download

Getting Ready and Getting it Right (Indonesia)
8 July 2010
Listen | Download

“They Are Very Eager to be Counted”
8 July 2010
Listen | Download

The Challenge of Conducting the Census in Indonesia
7 July 2010
Listen | Download