The word ‘Census’ has been revolving around every news and current affairs program for the past few months. Yet, only few people know what it actually means.
In technical terms, it means:
[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”The official counting of a region’s or nation’s people and compilation of economic, social and other data, usually for formulation of development policies and plans and demarcating constituencies for elections.” parallax=”off” direction=”left” revealfx=”off”]
Simply put, a Census or Mardam shumari comprises of a collection of data regarding the socio-economic circumstances of the country.
Are Census and Survey the same thing?
Majority of the population are unaware of the difference between a survey and a census. To answer the question, they are not the same. The main difference is that a survey does not include every single resident of a certain area. It includes only a set number of people, who are representatives of the general population – this is called a ‘sample’. The results in the survey are drawn on the basis of the characteristics and responses of that particular sample. Whereas in a census, every single person of the population is counted and included (even infants and children).
So now that these confusions have cleared up, let’s move on to some facts about Pakistan’s Census 2017.
- The 2017 census is the sixth census exercise in the history of the country. The previous ones took place in 1951, 1961, 1972 (postponed from 1971), 1981 and the last one in 1998.
- In Pakistan, a nation-wide census is supposed to take place every 10 years. In fact, the 2017 census should have been conducted in 2008, but faced a delay of 9 years due to various reasons.
- Main reason for the 9 year delay was the terrorist activities in certain areas of the country. This made it impossible for data collection teams to gather information from the areas occupied by extremists groups. Also, other reasons were political instability, poor security and natural calamities (due to which millions of people were affected).
4. The conduction and supervision of the census is done by the Bureau of Statistics of the Ministry of Finance and Statistics. This organization also has to publish the census reports. However, in the 2017 census, the field staff of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics will be assisted during the data collection. Personnel from the Armed forces, Rangers and provincial Police departments will be escorting them and ensuring their safety.
5. The census will be conducted in two stages. The first stage is that of khana shumari i.e. counting the number of houses in a certain area and assigning numbers to them. The second stage is mardam shumari in which people of an area are counted and their brief family attributes are recorded.
6. The urban and rural areas are divided into various sub regions during the procedure. The rural areas are divided into District, Tehsil, Qanungo, Moza and Gaon. The urban areas are divided in the hierarchy of district, charge, circle and block.
7. According to Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa, a provisional summary of the results will be available within 60 days of completion. Moreover, starting from 15th March 2017 it will take over a year for the detailed results to be ready.
8. Compared to the previous cost of Rs 14.5 billion, the census 2017 will have an estimated cost of Rs 30.24 billion.
9. The transparency, accuracy and data processing efficiency of the census are very important, since its results will impact many future policies. Population census directly affects constituencies (national, provincial and local) and governmental financial allocations. It will also influence the quota of employees from different regions in federal and provincial government institutions such as the Federal Public Service Commission, Ministry of Defense etc. Therefore, the results are very impactful.
10. Various individuals and political and ethnic parties have fears and reservations about the 2017 census. These include agricultural landlords, feudal chiefs and bureaucratic elite. Others cite the omission of form 2A, which has the data on disabilities, internal migration, mortality, fertility and other social indicators, as a cause for concern.
If executed orderly, census 2017 will influence many political, social and financial factors in Pakistan. Therefore, to register their data accurately is the responsibility of every Pakistani.