by Curlan Campbell
- Census reference date is 15 September 2021
- 2021 census will snapshot the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic
- Data collection will continue until the end of the year
- Data will be collected digitally, using data capturing and geographic information software
As the Central Statistical Office (CSO) Ministry of Finance prepares to undertake its first paperless census for 2021, during its virtual launch Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Physical Development and Energy Gregory Bowen made several compelling arguments as to why the 2021 Census will underpin better policy decisions to address the post-Covid economy.
The National Population and Housing Census is a once-in-a-decade nationwide survey that allows the government to take a snapshot of the national population. The 2021 census will snapshot the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister Bowen stated this census could not come at a more perfect time when a snapshot of the nation is desperately needed to ensure that the measures taken to address the impact of Covid-19 are based on the most up-to-date and accurate data.
According to the CSO, the primary objective is to gather detailed information on the population which includes statistics on the demographic, economic and social characteristics of the population referenced to the census date. To plan for, and implement, economic and social development projects, administrative activities and scientific research, it is necessary to have reliable and detailed data on the size, distribution, and composition of the population.
“Covid-19 has given us a clear awakening on how statistics have been used in strategically managing and mitigating the impact of the pandemic the world over. In restoring our economies we cannot separate combating the Covid-19 crisis from the production of sound statistics, hence a census of our population is inevitable at this time. It is coming at a critical point as it allows us to understand the impact on the population on all levels as well as how our lives have changed socially and economically,” Bowen said.
Rachel Jacob, Survey Statistician, CSO said that 15 September is the reference date which will include Grenada’s resident population, ie living continuously in Grenada at that time. This includes persons in the country 6 months before that date or if they intend to be in the country 6 months after the reference date. The data collection starts on 15 September and normally can be accomplished within 6 weeks, however, given the current Covid-19 situation data collection will continue until the end of the year.
For the first time, data will be collected digitally on devices such as tablets, using data capturing and geographic information software, which authorities say will ensure greater privacy and faster processing. The census date is 15 September 2021 and the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the Census are critical in driving informed, accurate policy decision-making into the future.
“The Central Statistical Office, the government office with the legal mandate to undertake a census, has been building its capacity over the years taking advantage of the computer-assisted personal interviewing technology in the administration of surveys having implemented numerous paperless household surveys since 2016. The Central Statistical Office is in a particularly good position to undertake its first paperless census. the use of these applications will significantly improve the quality and timeliness of the data collected,” Bowen said.
The use of software to capture digital surveys will minimise the risk of human error when data is manually inputted, while also empowering them to process the data faster. This will empower policymakers to start making use of this up-to-date data quicker, ensuring that critical decisions around the post-Covid economy are based on an accurate understanding of the population.
Minister Bowen also emphasised that crucial to this process will be the collection of information that can be used to serve communities will high entrepreneurial potential through the small business development fund. Additionally, Government is prepared to utilise US$8 million in funding from the World Bank to enhance the capacity of both the public and private sector in order to be able to process the data at a faster rate following the conclusion of the reporting period.
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