The film "COUNTING THE WORLD" showcases the relevance of census data for development, illustrated with the experience in Belarus, Bolivia, Chad, Indonesia and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
The population and housing census is among the most complex and massive peacetime exercises a nation undertakes. It requires mapping the entire country, figuring out what technologies should be employed, mobilizing and training legions of enumerators, conducting a major public awareness campaign, canvassing all households, collecting individual information, compiling hundreds of thousands or millions of completed questionnaires, monitoring procedures and results, and analyzing and disseminating the data.
It displays the importance of information about growth, movements, structures, living conditions, spatial distribution and natural resources of a country's population for relevant policy formulation, planning and implementation, and for monitoring and evaluation. The unique advantage of the population and housing census is that it represents the entire statistical universe, down to the smallest geographical units.
The census helps policymakers plan for the future in terms of schools, clinics and hospitals, roads, urban infrastructure and more. It can measure fertility, mortality and spatial distribution, so as to predict and plan for demographic trends. It can uncover gender disparities in employment, literacy, age of marriage and assets. It can reveal the number of people with disabilities and orphans by area. It also can map out the types of dwellings, sources of drinking water, access to telecommunications and patterns of energy use, among other things. In countries without good civil registration, it provides fertility and mortality data.
"COUNTING THE WORLD" also displays how UNFPA provides technical and financial support to countries during the 2010 census round. Building country capacity to produce reliable data has long been an institutional priority for UNFPA.