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2010 Census Begins In The Caribbean

Greater Georgetown, Guyana – CARICOM Member States are scheduled to conduct Population and Housing Censuses this year, with Barbados beginning its count next week, on May 1.

The Bahamas will begin its count on May 3, Saint Lucia on May 10, Belize, May 12, and Bermuda, an Associate Member of the Community on May 20. The British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, other Associate Members, will conduct their Censuses on June 14 and October 10, respectively. Door to door canvassing by enumerators will begin after midnight on those dates – designated as Census Days. Guyana will begin its count later this year while other Member States are to conduct their Censuses in 2011.

It is anticipated that Haiti will have its Census done in 2013.

CARICOM Member States have taken a regionally-coordinated approach to the 2010 Census and have agreed to common elements on the Census forms to be used by enumerators. For the first time during a Census, information will be gathered on the regional integration movement with specific focus on the Free Movement of Persons, a core element of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Population and Housing Census is conducted once every decade. The extent to which it is successful depends on the participation of nationals in any given country.

The population, social and economic data collected during the Census will assist governments in making decisions in the national interest and will serve as a baseline for monitoring the international development goals.

The importance of the Census to national development was highlighted at a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Meeting of Heads of Statistics and Planning for the Pacific Region in Fiji in 2005. The following critical factors were highlighted:

• Census data are essential for achieving, not just monitoring, development goals

• Only the Census can provide comparative small area data that are essential for regional or local planning.

• The Census provides the sample frame for specialized surveys for more detailed analysis.

• In many countries the census is the only reasonably reliable source of data to estimate demographic rates.

• The Census may also be the only reliable source of data on education attainment or school enrolment.

• Only a Population and Housing Census provides data to assess quality of housing and related infrastructure across the entire country (crucial to poverty analysis).

• Census data are indispensable for ensuring the equitable allocation of government resources and the distribution of services.

• The wealth of information that is generated from a Census signals the need for a highly participatory population who will be called upon to provide both general and personal information to enumerators, who are basically strangers.

The CARICOM Secretariat has actively supported the 2010 Round in Member States and has conducted symposia and workshops geared at reviewing the last Census to ensure greater efficiency, and training for the count this time around.

The Secretariat and the UNFPA have established a Resource Consortium the primary purpose of which is to act as a clearinghouse for technical, financial and other related assistance to support Census activity in Member States. This Resource Consortium is expected to strengthen coordination of resources among International agencies that wish to provide support, in the implementation of the 2010 Round of Censuses in the Region.

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