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About Population and housing censuses

Censuses are the widest-ranging and most important primary source of statistical information. Given the periodicity of censuses (every 10 years), changes can be compared over time (evolution) and between countries, since they are carried out on similar dates almost everywhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their results provide basic information on housing, households and individuals; they are also the only instrument capable of providing data for small geographical areas.

CELADE-Population Division of ECLAC works intensively with ECLAC member countries in various fields, including technical assistance, which entails the provision of support both before and after census-taking. It also holds regional workshops at which it and the countries take stock of each decade’s censuses and identify the main lessons from them. CELADE-Population Division of ECLAC additionally produces inputs to support technical assistance for censuses, including in particular a document on the employment of the “usual place of residence” concept in population censuses; a review of the methodology employed by the countries to capture same-sex couples; an inventory of personal digital assistant (PDA) use in recent censuses in Latin America; a proposal for systematizing census quality indicators; and another proposal for census coverage indicators based on fieldwork reports and the housing census.

All this support from CELADE-Population Division of ECLAC enables the countries to develop the institutional capabilities they need to ascertain information source error types and procedures for estimating and evaluating the components of the demographic dynamic, with a view to identifying problems of consistency, quality and coverage through the application of direct and indirect techniques, while providing greater familiarity with new or established approaches opted for by the region’s countries when deciding on the methodologies and concepts to be employed in the censuses of each decade, and to assess achievements in light of the quality of the results.

Several of these activities form part of the joint work of CELADE-Population Division of ECLAC and the ECLAC Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA) and are supported financially and technically by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

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