Preparations for the 2021 population census have been underway for a long time, with the survey expected to undergo stringent controls to prevent any abuse of data, as announced at a meeting of the parliamentary Local and Regional Government Committee consulting on the project.
The most noteworthy novelty regarding the 2021 census refers to the collection of data via the e-Citizens platform and the electronic submission of data by the census takers, which will improve the process, data accuracy and quality, while parallelly meliorating efficiency and data processing, the director of the State Bureau of Statistics Lidija Brković said.
Committee chair Ivan Penava recalled that numerous aspects of administrative and social life depend on the objectivity of the census, stressing that the 2011 census included loopholes for data manipulation. Census-taking requires professionalism and impartiality; however, certain interest groups misuse data to secure more funds than they are entitled to, he claimed.
Penava objected to the calls that a specific portion of census takers belong to ethnic minorities, claiming that he saw no point in asking a census taker about their nationality, gender or religious beliefs.
He added that the 2011 census had shown that Vukovar has a population of 28,000, yet the city authorities estimate that there are 22,000 residents.
Brković said the State Statistical Office (DZS) guaranteed there would be no data manipulation.
Committee members also pointed to loopholes in the implementation of the law on residency and to strong migration trends, to which Brković replied that the precision of data can be cross-checked with other databases running in the EU and other countries.
Brković explained that the bureau has several control levels to verify data, adding that misdemeanour and criminal charges are provided for anyone submitting false information. Brković admitted that regions like Vukovar required much more stringent controls, stressing however that the bureau has mechanisms to deal with that.
The aim of the census is to determine data on the number and territorial distribution of the population and basic demographic, educational, migration, economic and other indicators, as well as information related to households and housing.
The census will extend to cover a period starting on 31 March 2021 at midnight. It will be conducted between April 1 and May 7 next year. Citizens will have the opportunity to self-complete the census form online from April 1–10, while census takers will visit those households that have not completed the online survey. /ibna