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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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Units, place and time of enumeration for population and housing censuses

Since individual enumeration is an essential feature of a population and housing census, clarity about the unit of enumeration is an essential element of census planning. In the case of the population census, the primary unit of enumeration is the person. There are two general frameworks within which individuals are identified: (a) households and (b) institutions, as a subset of collective living quarters. The household is a general framework within which most individuals are identified, since the majority of the population live in households, and the household is also a unit of enumeration in its own right. Because the household is also a unit of enumeration for the housing census, careful identification as a preliminary step in the enumeration can facilitate the efficient collection of the data and the control of its completeness in both types of census.

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