For the first time in the country’s history, Pakistan’s Census in 2023 is going to be digital with a 40-point questionnaire covering eight important areas. All the preparations are rolled out and the team is now ready for a gigantic task.
The effort is entirely indigenous; all the systems devised and the tools created are by our own experts, said Chief Statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Dr. Naeem Uz Zafar proudly. He was addressing a hybrid seminar, themed “Census 2023: All You Want to Know About”, at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Islamabad.
Naeem uz Zafar said that the census is an important national activity that is linked with resource allocation to provinces, representation in National/Provincial assemblies, and the delimitation process. Therefore, the credibility of the census is of utmost importance.
An official from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics collects information from a resident during a census as security personnel guards them in Peshawar.
Without having the requirement of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) for verification purposes, the Population Census will collect data from 185,000 blocks in March 2023. The 40-point questionnaire will seek information about eight broad areas in the upcoming population census exercise, including households, basic amenities, demography, education, health, employment, disability, and migration.
Chief Statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Dr. Naeem Uz Zafar said that Pakistan’s Census in 2023 is going to be digital for the first time ever in the country’s history. All the preparations are rolled out and the team is now ready for the gigantic task.
“The effort is entirely indigenous; all the systems devised and the tools created are by our own experts,”
Naeem uz Zafar appreciated the efforts of the audience that after the results of the latest Census 2017 were approved in the 45th CCI meeting held on 12th April 2021, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) gave directions for the next census to start as early as possible and which should be according to international best practices by using the latest technology.
The Government of Pakistan then constituted a committee of renowned demographers and experts with comprehensive TORS to bring transparency, credibility, and wider acceptability of census processes and results. For this, a board-based stakeholders’ engagement was carried out in order to have ownership of the process.
Addressing the seminar on the forthcoming Census 2023, Zafar said that following UN guidelines and detailed deliberations of the committee, it was decided that there ought to be clarity regarding the primary objectives of the census – policy and planning.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the census process implying that counting of the whole population residing in the country at the time of census should be done, irrespective of its status/whether one is the holder of the CNIC or not. The exercise is of counting not of verification.
Individual enumeration to be carried out – information on each enumerated person to collect. It was also agreed upon that census must be conducted simultaneously and in the shortest possible time, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nadeemul Haque, vice chancellor (VC) of PIDE said that the censuses remain controversial in Pakistan, at times delayed for over a decade. Now that we are moving towards the new census, it is time to raise all the concerns and questions we have.
The first-ever regular population demographics in the areas now comprising Pakistan was held in 1881. Since then regular censuses were conducted after every 10 years up to 1981. Six censuses have been undertaken so far i.e. 1951, 1961, 1972, 1981, 1998, and latest in 2017.