Unique Source of Important Information
Census data are an important input in socio-economic policy planning
The last census in Belarus was held from 14 to 24 October 2009. The National Statistics Committee of the Republic of Belarus has finished analyzing the information obtained during the census and is now distributing the aggregate census data.
We introduced a number of new approaches to the methodology and legal framework of the census and adopted new data processing solutions.
The 2009 census was the first population census held after Law of the Republic of Belarus of 13 July 2006 “On population census” was adopted. The law created a legal framework for collecting and processing personal data and releasing the results. Here I would like to emphasize that confidentiality is crucial for the success of a census. Therefore, the law contains serious safeguards to protect personal information. The law guarantees that the information is confidential, cannot be released to other government agencies and should be used solely for the formation of aggre-
The most important resource the society can have is human capital. The evaluation of quality and quantity of this capital at all levels from the smallest village to the entire country is one of the most crucial elements of modern governance. Besides the question “How many people do we have?” we need to answer other questions like “Who are we” to learn about our age, gender, education, profession, economic activity and other important parameters and “Where do we live” which includes the type of our housing, amenities, Internet access. The answers to all these questions are provided by censuses. Centuries have passed, new alternative approaches to statistical research have emerged, but a traditional nation-wide population census remains the source of most accurate demographic and social information.
gate census data. The law meets national and international data protection requirements and contributes to shaping a better attitude to censuses. In line with the law, only the aggregate census data can be released. Census forms and their electronic representations are now permanently stored at government archive agencies. They are duly protected from damage, distortion and unauthorized access.
The census program has also undergone considerable changes. While working on questions to be included in the census forms we took into consideration the country’s needs in getting up-to-date and accurate information. Compared with the 1999 census, the program included new questions related to the domestic and external migration and labor migration to study the workforce in each administrative district, town and agrotown. This was the first time in the history of population censuses in Belarus that we got exhaustive information on the distribution of workforce across economic sectors in line with international classification.
Taking into consideration new lifestyle trends in Belarus brought about by integration into the international community, globalization, penetration of the Internet and information technologies, we included questions about the availability of a computer and the Internet access in a household.
We have widely embraced computer technologies while preparing for censuses. The electronic database of urban and rural households made our work easier and secured a comprehensive coverage of the population.
Some people are skeptical about any event carried out by the government. Censuses are no exception. Therefore the awareness raising campaign is of great importance. Such campaigns help us shape a more positive attitude to censuses.
We have also come up with new approaches to the census conduct. We carried out the census not only where people live, but also at housing maintenance offices, schools, rural councils where permanent census offices were created. These offices collected data regarding over