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STATIN Says Census To Inform Transport/Communications Policies

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The 2011 Housing and Population Census will assist policy makers in making critical decisions in the areas of transportation and communications.

Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Sonia Jackson, in an interview with JIS News, said that unlike the last census, questions relating to these sectors have been included in the 2011 survey instrument.

“The census questionnaire is not just a STATIN question, but a composite of the needs of the country, and transportation and communications have become areas of interest. And so, there are questions about how people get to work, what do they use and how often they use it?” Miss Jackson explained.

She noted that the 2011 census may also reflect shifts in the population, based on activities in the housing sector.

“For example Greater Portmore came on between 1991 and 1994, so we saw in 2001 there was a concentration in St. Catherine. We now see that there has been a lot of housing going on in the Old Harbour area, so you are going to see a shift in population densities in those areas,” the Director General said.

The Population and Housing Census was designed not only to measure the population of Jamaica, but to capture critical data on demographic, economic and social conditions. The results provide vital information used in policymaking, administration and devising programmes to address identified needs and challenges.

Mrs. Jackson is encouraging Jamaicans to participate in the census, and to give truthful responses to the questionnaires to ensure the validity of the data.

“Jamaica is a small country, so we want accurate information. We don’t want anybody to make up any information and give to the census takers. We want them to provide the information on each member of the household, so that we can get the true figures at the end,” the Director General said.

Concerns are usually raised about the confidentiality of the information provided during the census taking process. The Statistic Act requires that information be published in an aggregated format that prevents the publication of information identifying any individual or business.

“The information that we are acquiring is required for planning for both the private sector and the public sector. So, we are not trying to get into your business, as some people say from time to time,” she stated.

Data collection for the 2011 Housing and Population census will start on April 5, when about 5,700 interviewers will be deployed, islandwide, to visit each household to collect data on every living person and resident within Jamaica. Data collection is scheduled to continue until July.

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