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Principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses

image of Principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses

The population and housing census is part of an integrated national statistical system, which may include other censuses (for example, agriculture), surveys, registers and administrative files. It provides, at regular intervals, the benchmark for population count at national and local levels. For small geographical areas or sub-populations, it may represent the only source of information for certain social, demographic and economic characteristics. For many countries the census also provides a solid framework to develop sampling frames. This publication represents one of the pillars for data collection on the number and characteristics of the population of a country.

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Census data utilization

Population censuses are traditionally used for public and private sector policymaking, planning, and administrative and research purposes. One of the most basic of the administrative uses of census data is in the demarcation of constituencies and the allocation of representation on governing bodies. Certain aspects of the legal or administrative status of territorial divisions may also depend on the size of their populations. Housing censuses are used to develop benchmark housing statistics and to formulate housing policy and programmes, and in the private sector to assist in site selection for industrial, retail and service facilities, as well as for the commercial development of residential housing.

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