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Oct 31, 2018

A 2020 Population & Housing Census to Be Conducted

Personnel at the Statistical Institute of Belize are getting ready for the 2020 national census. The population is expected to show growth of more than two percent annually since the last census which also showed that the Mestizos were fifty-three percent and the Creoles twenty-six percent. A new feature of the upcoming census is a count of persons registered and the electoral division in which they vote. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The 2020 Population and Housing Census was officially launched today by the Statistical Institute of Belize. It kicks off a series of activities leading up to the countrywide collection of information for the May twelfth, 2020 census that will provide long-lasting and fundamental data which will be used to inform policy decisions. According to Chair of the Board of Directors of the SIB, Doctor Aaron Lewis, the census is ultimately about people and will  find out their location, age distribution, the vulnerable population, status of their living condition and employment and if they have food. Doctor Lewis says it is the only data collection activity which gives a true and complete picture of a population.

 

Aaron Lewis

Dr. Aaron Lewis, Chairman, Board of Directors, SIB

“All other studies and surveys provide estimates that are periodically benchmarked against the results obtained from the census. Thus, the result from a census provides the reality checks on the results of other data collection activities and therefore it is clear that the planning and execution of a census have to be conducted with utmost attention to detail, methodological rigour because any errors committed in the conduct of a census could have lasting effects for decades on how data is interpreted in later studies.”

 

Since 1960, censuses have been done every decade; the last one in 2010 which showed the population was at approximately three hundred and twenty-two thousand five hundred persons—fifty-three percent were Mestizo and twenty-six percent, Creole. The data also reflected that one in every five persons was fourteen years and older. The projection is that the size of the population would have grown by almost a hundred thousand persons come 2020; that is at a growth rate of two point five percent per annum, including migration. So to collect all that data, an estimated one thousand field staff will execute the daunting task between May and July 2020 after which a post enumeration survey will be done to properly validate the results of the census immediately following the field work. A final report will be released in the year 2022.

 

Miriam Willoughby

Miriam Willoughby, Manager, Census & Surveys Department, SIB

“We are also looking at a new topic this year for census 2020 which will be democratic participation and in that particular topic, we are focusing on the number of persons that are registered and the electoral division in which they are registered. But we still will be looking at other topics like housing and housing amenities, water and sanitation and topics we have covered in previous census which is important because we have to measure the progress from 2010 to 2020. We are really asking for people to participate because as you can see the information that we collect is really important and we also want people to know that the information that they give us is very confidential so it will not be disclosed to anybody.”

 

There are various uses for the census data; primarily for policy, planning and administrative purposes. But it is also used for research as well as business, industry and labour, electoral boundary demarcation and assessment of housing stock. International partners, the United Nations Population Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank has been assisting in strengthening the capacity of the S.I.B.

 

Cassandra Rogers

Dr. Cassandra Rogers, Country Rep., Inter-American Development Bank

“This information is needed not only to describe the national picture, but to help understand that lives of all Belizeans; this include those who live in urban areas as well as those living in small towns and villages in rural Belize. The information the census provides indispensable for government. No new infrastructure project in Belize today should get past the planning stage without reference to census data; be that a new bus route or new primary school. Census provides invaluable information on the changing nature of Belize’s ethnic makeup, on religious affiliation, on the number of school-aged children and information on literacy. It tells us what languages are spoken in Belizean homes, school enrolment, type of dwelling units and the extent of household internet access, to name a few.”

 

Tisa Grant

Tisa Grant, Liaison Officer, UNFPA [Belize]

“Without this accurate data, policymakers do not know where to invest in schools, hospitals and roads and those most in need remain invisible. The unique advantage of the census is that it represents the entire statistical universe, so to speak. Down to the smallest geographical unit of a country or region, planners need this information for all kinds of development work, including assessing demographic trends, analysing socio-economic conditions, designing evidence-based poverty reduction strategies, monitoring and evaluation.”

 

During the process, all households will be assigned geographic locations to assist enumerators and all data will be collected digitally. Duane Moody for News Five.

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