Why census data vital

A CENSUS is the procedure of systematically acquiring, recording and calculating population information about the members of a given population. This term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common censuses include censuses of agriculture, traditional culture, business, supplies and traffic censuses.

The United Nations (UN) defines the essential features of population and housing censuses as individual enumeration, universality within a defined territory, simultaneity and defined periodicity and recommends that population censuses be taken at least every ten years.

UN recommendations also cover census topics to be collected, official definitions, classifications and other useful information to co-ordinate international practices.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan was quoted calling for effective utilisation of the 2022 National Population and Housing Census data in planning for social, economic and political programmes for the country to benefit more from the population mapping.

She was speaking on Friday after receiving the census publications at the Chamwino State

House in Dodoma, where she said effective utilisation of the census data will enable the national plans to be realistic and well implemented.

The census report has come at the right time when the government has formed a new Ministry of Planning and Investment as well as the Planning Commission to fully use the

2022 census data as the baseline in planning various development projects and national plans in general.

The word ‘census’ is of Latin origin; during the Roman Republic, the census was a list that kept track of all adult males fit for military service. The modern census is essential to international comparisons of any kind of statistics and censuses collect data on many attributes of a population, not just how many people there are.

Censuses typically began as the only method of collecting national demographic data and are now part of a larger system of different surveys. Although population estimates remain an important function of a census, including exactly the geographic distribution of the population or the agricultural population, statistics can be produced about combinations of attributes, e.g., education by age and sex in different regions.

Current administrative data systems allow for other approaches to enumeration with the same level of detail but raise concerns about privacy and the possibility of biasing estimates.

The 2022 National Population and Housing Census results will be used as the baseline by the Planning Commission under the new formulated Ministry of Planning and Investment in planning various programmes for the country’s development. When Tanzania prepares the country’s Development Vision 2050, the statistics will be its baseline and the Planning Commission will use the obtained findings to implement the national plan.

Importance of census is that it provides a database on which are built population projections and workforce projections. It provides a database needed to study specific social phenomena and to provide basic data for all sectors in the country in issues like education, health and population.

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