Measuring the Economically Active in Population Censuses

A Handbook

image of Measuring the Economically Active in Population Censuses
The Handbook provides guidance on the measurement of economic characteristics in population censuses, based on relevant experiences of countries, with a particular focus on the questions used and the requirements for processing of responses. The Handbook is intended to provide census planners with a variety of approaches to assess the questions and methods of collecting economic characteristics used in their national census, as they evaluate the performance in the past decade and plan for the 2010 round of censuses (2005-2014). Users of census results may also find the present text useful when evaluating the quality of census results.

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Measurement frameworks

The single most important issue in obtaining reliable information on economic topics in a population census is to accurately determine the activity status of the population: who is economically active and who is not? Statistics on the size and composition of the two groups are fundamental to formulating almost all economic and social policies and related planning and research. Moreover, most economic characteristics in the census are obtained only for the economically active; therefore the item(s) used to identify activity status are the key to the whole block of economic items. Omissions and misclassifications of persons can have a major impact on a broad range of census data pertaining to the socio-economic situation of the population.

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