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General News of Monday, 27 September 2010

Source: GNA

2010 Population and Housing Census takes off


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Accra, Sept. 27, GNA - The 2010 Population and Housing Census took off officially at midnight on Sunday, September 26.

The National Fire Service tenders sounded the siren at midnight, apparently to click an imaginary camera that took a picture of all people in Ghana at the time and, therefore, qualified to be counted, no matter their nationality, profession, sex or mental condition. Several hours before midnight, enumerators started going round counting the floating population, including guests in hotels, passengers of all modes of transportation and people without permanent residential structures, such as head porters, the destitute, vagrants and lunatics. About 50,000 enumerators have been trained by the Ghana Statistical Service throughout the country to undertake the enumeration exercise whilst about 27,240 enumeration centres have been created.

The enumerators are wearing blue "T" shirts with "2010 Census Official" written behind. They have their ID cards hanging on their neck. The census is to collect detailed statistics on the size of the population for effective planning. The two-week exercise, which ends on October 10, is also to collect data on the composition and distribution of Ghana's population, the residential accommodation and facilities in use.

"This information will be crucial in determining the development policy direction of the county," according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

It adds that the census will be an important source of comprehensive data on persons with disabilities, helping to assess their social and living conditions in terms of school attendance and educational attainment, employment, marital status and living arrangements.

This is the first time disability issues are being included in the Population and Housing Census.

The census will also include a housing census, which is the official enumeration of all living quarters, either occupied or vacant, and occupants thereof at that time. "The enumeration also implies the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of demographic and socio-economic statistics relating to the population," according to GSS.

Ghana has had 10 population censuses since 1891. The last population census was in 2000 when 18.9 million people were counted. Estimates have put Ghana's population at 23.4 million. The government is providing about 90 per cent of the funding with donors assisting in the exercise estimated at some 50 million US dollars.

Respondents are to remember who spent the night in their household; be ready to provide information about all members of the household and guests at Census Night; identify all members of the household, including babies born before midnight of census night; and provide correct information on characteristics of household members. Some of the information required are date of birth; age and place of birth; nationality; ethnicity; religion; number of years lived in town or village; marital status of those 12 years and older; literacy; educational characteristics; economic activity; disability; number of children ever born alive and children surviving; number of household who died in the past 12 months; agricultural activity, such as crop cultivation, rearing livestock; fish breeding; farm size; numbers of livestock and type of fishery activity.

Questions on the housing conditions include type of dwelling; main construction material used; holding/tenancy arrangement and type of ownership; number of rooms the household occupies; number of sleeping rooms for household; number of household sharing single rooms; main source of lighting; cooking fuel; water for cooking; water for other domestic purposes, such as cooking and washing; and mode of disposal of rubbish and liquid waste.

GSS urges the public to "provide truthfully, the information supervisors/ monitors request". Meanwhile, enumerators are beginning to face a series of challenges as the Census gets off the ground with the most prominent being lack of logistics and security as well as the refusal of some floating voters to be counted.

The Ghana News Agency (GNA) observed that squatters at the Tema Station on Census Night refused to cooperate with census officials saying their sleep had been disturbed. They also expressed discomfort with the electronic media.

While some of them refused to wake up to be counted those who were not asleep would not just budge. It took the intervention of an interpreter to convince some to cooperate because most of them said they did not know what was going on.

A Net 2 Television camerawoman was manhandled when she attempted to take shots and it took the intervention of some media colleagues to save a nasty situation because there were no security personnel accompanying the enumerators.

Some squatters behind the Independence Square, however, cooperated with the enumerators and gave out information. At several parts of Accra, enumerators complained about lack of logistics, such as rain coats, torch lights, dry cell batteries and forms.

They also complained about lack of security in places considered as dangerous. They are walking in groups to protect one another.

Speaking to the newsmen, the Reverend Mrs. Emma Sepah, Greater Accra Regional Statistician, admitted that there were challenges, including convincing people to cooperate and having security men around. She gave the assurance that the challenges had been duly noted and they would be addressed as the census went on.

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