My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘comparative’

China counts 4 times as many people at 1/12 the cost…

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Here’s an article about China’s 2010 Census, which will cost $1.18 billion.

China’s headcount using satellite images to find everyone

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Will actions similar to those in China one day be the norm in the US?

by Xinhua writer Guo Likun

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — From counting toothbrushes on building sites to using remote sensing satellite maps, China’s officials, scholars and census takers are racking their brains to make this year’s national census of the world’s most populous country as accurate as possible.

About 6.5 million census takers will go door-to-door in the first 10 days of the census, which begins on Nov. 1.

Experts say increasing internal migration, greater awareness of privacy, urbanization and children born in violation of the country’s “one child” policy make the census a challenging task.

DESTINATION OR SOURCE?

One of the trickiest questions is how to track China’s large mobile population, which is estimated at 210 million compared with only 100 million a decade ago.

About 75 percent of the mobile population is aged 18 to 40, and about 157 million have moved from rural areas to cities for better job prospects, says Zhang Yi, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Almost half of the labor force in Chinese cities comes from the country’s vast rural areas, says Zhang.

In addition, 30 percent of urban residents are away from their permanent residence, Zhang said.

Duan Chengrong, director of the Research Center for Population and Development under the People’s University of China, says previous censuses mainly focused on the cities, or the destinations of internal migration, to count mobile population.

“But only surveying the destinations of flow increases the chance of leaving some migrant workers uncounted,” Duan said. “So the government has decided to incorporate both the destinations and sources in the upcoming census to get more accurate data.

“Since residents are familiar with each other in small communities like villages, they know who went out and how many of their fellow villagers have gone to cities to work,” said Duan, who is also a member of the nine-member census consultant group under the State Council.

“Generally speaking, we are trying to get an accurate head count from the sources, or the rural areas, and at the same time have an idea of their structure in the cities, such as where have they gone and what do they do in cities,” he said.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, China has conducted national population censuses in 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990 and 2000.

The last census a decade ago counted 1.29533 billion people.

by Xinhua writer Guo Likun

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — From counting toothbrushes on building sites to using remote sensing satellite maps, China’s officials, scholars and census takers are racking their brains to make this year’s national census of the world’s most populous country as accurate as possible.

About 6.5 million census takers will go door-to-door in the first 10 days of the census, which begins on Nov. 1.

Experts say increasing internal migration, greater awareness of privacy, urbanization and children born in violation of the country’s “one child” policy make the census a challenging task.

DESTINATION OR SOURCE?

One of the trickiest questions is how to track China’s large mobile population, which is estimated at 210 million compared with only 100 million a decade ago.

About 75 percent of the mobile population is aged 18 to 40, and about 157 million have moved from rural areas to cities for better job prospects, says Zhang Yi, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Almost half of the labor force in Chinese cities comes from the country’s vast rural areas, says Zhang.

In addition, 30 percent of urban residents are away from their permanent residence, Zhang said.

Duan Chengrong, director of the Research Center for Population and Development under the People’s University of China, says previous censuses mainly focused on the cities, or the destinations of internal migration, to count mobile population.

“But only surveying the destinations of flow increases the chance of leaving some migrant workers uncounted,” Duan said. “So the government has decided to incorporate both the destinations and sources in the upcoming census to get more accurate data.

“Since residents are familiar with each other in small communities like villages, they know who went out and how many of their fellow villagers have gone to cities to work,” said Duan, who is also a member of the nine-member census consultant group under the State Council.

“Generally speaking, we are trying to get an accurate head count from the sources, or the rural areas, and at the same time have an idea of their structure in the cities, such as where have they gone and what do they do in cities,” he said.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, China has conducted national population censuses in 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990 and 2000.

Will this census be our last?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Two days ago, the BBC reported that the UK’s 2011 Census may the that nation’s last:

In future, data could be gathered from records held by the Post Office, local government and credit checking agencies – thought to be more effective.

The government said it was “examining” whether changes could be made but no decision had been reached.

This is an interesting development, particularly as funds for the 2020 Census will soon be allocated. Though pro-immigration groups and organizations like the ACLU feel that forcing everyone in America to register with the government would be problematic, many nations already have national identity cards, which, if implemented in the US, would make creating a “portrait of America” that much easier.

The Canadian Census…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I will be visiting Canada this summer and I plan to spend some time in Ottawa discussing the Canadian 2011 Census and writing a more detailed report about Canada’s census operations. Though not as controversial as America’s 2010 Census, for a place that is normally so placid and non-controversial, there are some major issues that have emerged for the 2011 Census that being discussed by the National Post. Recently, it was determined that in this bi-lingual nation, the 2006 census was marred because many francophones intentionally wrote that they did not speak English (a lie) so that francophone institutions would receive more funding. And now, a long-form/short-form battle over privacy issues is heating up:

Industry Minister Tony Clement stands by his government’s controversial decision to overhaul Canada’s 2011 census without public consultation or prior notice, saying the issue didn’t warrant any more attention than it was given.

“This has received the amount of publicity that it deserves for the issue that it is dealing with. This is an issue about the census that is taking place a year from now,” said Clement, who oversees Statistics Canada. “I don’t accept the fact that every time you make a change on every matter of government business, you have to shout it from every rooftop.”

The consultation process involved speaking to MPs who’d heard from constituents complaining that the mandatory long-form census was intrusive and Statistics Canada could be “heavy-handed” about ensuring compliance with the threat of fines and jail time, he said in an interview with Canwest News Service. The Conservatives asked the statistical agency to suggest alternatives, Clement says, and from those options, his government chose to eradicate the mandatory long questionnaire and shift those questions to an optional survey.

“We’ve made plans to make sure that the data collected is valuable data and is legitimate data, and that’s the right balance in our society,” he says. “You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have, you try to limit the intrusiveness of government activities, and that’s the balance that we’ve struck.”

Previously, 80 per cent of Canadian households completed a short census form with eight basic questions and 20 per cent received a long questionnaire with 53 additional questions on issues such as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability. Both were mandatory, but for the 2011 census, the long questionnaire has been replaced with a voluntary National Household Survey that will be distributed to one in three households.

Australia’s modern census operations

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Check out an article HERE about how Australia is running their census operations — using the internet.

The Census in India…

Monday, May 31st, 2010

If you think enumerating 300 million people is hard, imagine what it’s like to enumerate 1.2 billion people in a developing country. This is the task that India is currently trying to perform. While there isn’t much backlash over the act of participating in the census (which is a responsibility of civil service workers rather than people hired specifically to work as temporary employees of the census), there are some issues over how caste, the old school Indian class system, should be factored into this count. I’ve been reading about this issue for about a month now and discussing it with Indian friends. I was waiting for the right moment to mention it here, but now that the Associated Press has written about it, it seems to be the appropriate time:

NEW DELHI — Bollywood’s biggest star has an answer ready if census workers ask about his caste: “Indian.’’

“My father never believed in caste, and neither do any of us,’’ Amitabh Bachchan wrote in his obsessively followed blog.

Comments like Bachchan’s are common in modern India, which prides itself on how it has transcended some of its most rigid traditions — and those beliefs are being heard more often as the government debates whether the national census should delve into caste.

But Joseph D’Souza doesn’t believe such talk for a moment.

“There’s a lot of lip service to saying ‘I’m an Indian first,’ and ‘I don’t believe in caste,’ ’’ said D’Souza, a prominent campaigner for dalits, as India’s “untouchables’’ at the very bottom of the caste system are now known.

“When it comes to sharing power, to interaction, to sharing social status, low-caste Indians are very much marginalized,’’ he said, arguing the census could provide firm data about the vast divisions.

India’s census, being held in stages over the next year or so, delves into the wealth, living conditions, and other personal details of the country’s 1.2 billion people. But still undecided is one question — “What is your caste?’’ — that has infuriated much of India’s elite, energized caste-based political parties, and left in doubt millions of government jobs and university slots.

The debate has also made very clear that caste, the Hindu custom that for millennia has divided people in a strict social hierarchy based on their family’s traditional livelihood and ethnicity, remains a deeply sensitive subject. (more…)