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2010 Census

Context of 2010  Census…

What is a Population Census?

  1.   The United Nations defines a census as “a complete enumeration of all persons in a country at a specified time”. It is the primary source of benchmark statistics on the size, distribution, composition and other social and economic characteristics of the population. The census provides information up to the lowest administrative unit. Timor Leste has conducted one population and housing census in 2004. The 2004 census was adequately analyzed and has identified some key parameters that our country needs to incorporate in development planning considering its new state. The country, still require accurate, relevant and up-to-date information at all administrative levels necessary for evidenced based decision making. It is against this background that the Government of Timor Leste through the National Statistics Directorate with support of development partners plans to undertake its second census in July 2010.

Objectives of the Population and Housing Census, 2010

  1. The 2010 National Population and Housing Census, hereafter referred to as 2010 Census, is being held in order to provide   benchmark information which is essential for sound development planning, making administrative and policy decisions, and research. It is, therefore, extremely important that the data collected in the census is complete and accurate.
  2. The specific objectives are to ascertain the following:

ii    Size, composition and spatial distribution of the population;
iii    Levels of education attained by the population;
iiii    Size and deployment of the labour force;
iiv    Prevalence of disability and its spread;
iv    Levels of fertility, mortality and migration;
ivi    Rate and pattern of urbanization;
ivii    Housing conditions and availability of social amenities;
iviii    Access to basic social services; and
iix    Participation in agricultural production.
4.    The information collected from the census will be utilized in various ways, including;
i.    Ministry of Education can better decide where new schools are most needed.
ii.    The Ministry of Public Works can foretell where and how many roads are needed based on population residing in an area.
iii.    The Ministry of Health can construct health facilities (clinics, dispensaries, hospitals) and provide health services where the need is greatest.
iv.    The working skills of the population can be measured against the needs of our growing nation.
v.    Specialized programmes can be designed to enable the persons with disabilities (PWD) be provided with relevant services (training, financial, assistive devices, etc.) and be integrated into society.
The Census Organization
5.    The census is being conducted and directed by the National Statistics Directorate (NSD) in the most expeditious manner. To mobilize resources and administrative machinery necessary for implementation and execution of the census, A National Census Committee has been established and is chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister, other members are Hon. Ministers and the Director of NSD who is also the Census Project Director. It deals with all policy issues, resource mobilization and advices the Technical committee. There are two other committees at national level, namely the Census Technical Committee responsible for all technical, logistical and administrative aspects of the census; and the Census Publicity and Advocacy Committee which deals with awareness creation. There are regional census officers at every administrative level. In each District and Sub-District there is a District Census Officer (DCO) and a Sub-District Census Officer (SDCO) who are in charge of census activities in the Districts and Sub-districts, respectively. The SDCO is assisted by a number of Supervisors. Each enumerator is answerable to a supervisor. The Suco and Aldeia chiefs will work with Supervisors and Enumerators during implementation of data collection phase.
Legal Authority to undertake the Census
6.    The Statistics Decree – Law No. 17/2003 empowers the NSD to collect information from persons and establishments, including the census, that NSD may deem necessary to achieve its goals and objectives. The 2010 census, therefore, will be carried out under the provision of the Statistics Decree Law. In addition to the above, the Government has issued a Government Order /Legal Notice/Census Ordinance (to be done soon).  Therefore, the 2010 Census is being undertaken within the confines of these two legal authorities.
7.    As a census officer, the Law accords you access to any premises, compound or house for the purpose of enumerating persons. However, the Law requires you to conduct yourself properly. In particular, it provides that you may only ask such questions as are necessary to complete the questionnaire or check entries already made.
8.    Penalties are provided for if members of the public fail to furnish you with the required information or you fail in your duties. The Law particularly stresses on confidentiality of the information collected from individuals.
Confidentiality of the Information
9.    The information you obtain is confidential and will be used only to compile statistics. You are not permitted to discuss it, gossip about it or show your records to anyone who is not an authorized officer within the Census Organization. Make all entries on the questionnaire yourself. On NO account should you allow any unauthorized persons to fill in any part of the questionnaire. Do not leave your questionnaire lying around anyhow where unauthorized persons may have access to them.
10.    To enforce this confidentiality, you will take an Oath of Secrecy. This will be organized by one of the census officers within your region of work. The oath is prescribed by the Law and is normally administered to all persons engaged in the census under the Statistics Decree Law.
Role of the Enumerator/Interviewer
11.    The enumerator’s role is central to the very success of the census. It is important that all enumerators carefully follow the laid down procedures. Your job is to visit every household in the assigned area and record all particulars required of persons who are usual residents in the household, those who stayed overnight on the census night in the household and those who are usual members but absent from the household on the census night. You will ask all the questions and record the answers that are provided to you. You should make every effort to obtain complete and accurate answers; and record them correctly. Since the success of the census also depends upon public co-operation, it is your duty to achieve this by being polite, patient, presentable and tactful at all times.
12.    Please note that most people are usually polite especially to strangers/visitors. They tend to give answers that they think will please the interviewer. It is, therefore, extremely important that you remain absolutely neutral towards the subject matter of the interview. Do not show any surprise, approval or disapproval of the respondent’s answer by your tone of voice or facial expression.
How to approach the Respondents
13.    Act as though you expect friendly co-operation and behave so as to deserve it.
14.    Start interviewing only when you have observed the following: exchanged proper greetings; identified yourself, explained the purpose of your visit, and have answered any questions and/or clarified issue about the census that the people may ask. However, do not spend too much time asking and/or answering unnecessary questions. You may cleverly avoid such questions by suggesting that you have limited time.
15.    During the interview let people take their time to answer. Do not ask leading questions. Work steadily and make sure that the answers are clear to you before you write them down. Do not accept at once any statement you believe to be mistaken. Tactfully ask further questions to obtain the correct answers, this technique is referred to as probing.
16.    It may happen that someone refuses to answer your questions. Almost always this is because of misunderstanding. Remain courteous. Stress the importance of the census and that it has nothing to do with taxation or similar Government activities; that the information is confidential, that no one outside the census organization will be allowed access to the records; that details of individual people are never released for any purpose whatsoever and; that census results are published only as numerical tables. You should be able to clear up any misunderstanding, that he/she may be liable to prosecution. Report any such incident to your supervisor or any other responsible census officer at the first opportunity.
17.    When leaving a household, always remember to thank the people for their co-operation.
Enumeration Supplies and Documents
18.    Upon successful completion of your training, you will be issued with:-
•    An identification card,
•    Enumeration Area (EA) Map of your assigned area,
•    A number of Census questionnaires,
•    Enumerator’s Handbook/Instructions manual (copy used during training),
•    A field note book,
•    Two ball point pens,
•    Call-back cards,
•    Crayons/Chalks/Marker,
•    Enumerator’s bag.
•    Any other item that may facilitate the work assigned to you.