Census to kick off next week

By Adel Fruean 15 October 2021, 10:53PM

Samoa’s 2021 Population and Housing Census will kick off next Monday and run for three weeks with the Samoa Bureau of Statistics leading the exercise.

The Government Statistician, Ali’imuamua Malaefono Ta’aloga, said the 2021 census reference date is 6 November 2021 and emphasised that due to scarce resources the exercise couldn't be done in one day.

“As the census cannot be conducted in one day due to limited resources, the 2021 census will be conducted for three weeks starting from next week on the 18th of October until it ends on the 6th of November," she said.

“A total of 330 villages will be enumerated within three weeks."

A total of 23 teams comprising the team leader and or supervisor and six enumerators per team will run the three-week program.

With a total of 18 teams who will cover Upolu including Manono and Apolima, five teams will cover all of Savai'i Island over a three week period.

“A total of 200 including 23 drivers will carry out the census. Out of the 200, only 30 are permanent staff of S.B.S. and the rest are hired workers. A total of 20 drivers are also hired from other government ministries and corporations.”

All persons will be staying overnight in the field and be accommodated in hotels and resorts where the teams will be based. Each team will have its own transport and a list of allocated villages to cover within three weeks.

Ali’imuamua explained that the census is conducted every five years with the last one for Samoa held in 2016.

“The last census was conducted on 7 November, 2016.   A total of 195,843 persons were recorded comprising 100,825 males (52 per cent) and 95,081(48 per cent) females," she said.

“The growth in population was 8,023 persons when compared to the 2011 census of 187,820 persons with 96,990(52 per cent) males and 90,836(48 per cent) females.”

In addition, Aliimuamua said in preparation for the 2021 Population and Housing Census, “the prelisting of the population was conducted in August to October in 2020 for planning purposes.”

“That prelisting activity was conducted together with the distribution of the COVID-19 stimulus package of $50.00 per person by the Ministry of Finance.

“The prelisting of the population showed a total of 215,469 persons with 111,087 males (52 per cent) and 104,382 females (48 per cent).

“This was an increase of the population growth by 9 per cent when compared to the total population in 2016.”

Ali’imuamua emphasised that substantial growth over the last five years was not a surprise, noting that Samoa's international borders were closed from March 2020. 

“Hence a lot of people who were usually travelling during the census count were all locked in Samoa. We acknowledged that the distribution of the stimulus package also motivated a lot of people to get counted at the time," she said.

“There are many reasons why the census is very important. For instance, the size of the population is the key factor for all government development plans, policy-making and strategic planning in the villages, districts and at the national level. 

“For instance, the size of the villages will determine the resources needed from the government or donors for certain projects such as water tanks, agricultural projects, school buildings, or health promotion programs.”   

Another reason why the census is significant is that, Ali’imuamua said: “In times of emergencies like the recent COVID-19 vaccination program, the census data was used to guide the identification of persons for the vaccination program in all the villages.”

“It was used to estimate the number of people to be vaccinated as well as the number of medical equipment and vaccines required for the total population, the number of medical teams to do the mass vaccination programs, the costing of all activities, etc.” 

Aliimuamua also said that they seek the cooperation from all families to get counted in this census, because the Government relies heavily on the census data for all its development and financial plans, which are implemented by the various Government ministries and organisations. 

“In times of emergencies, the census data will help the government and all our donor partners to estimate resources and funding so they can reach out to all those in need in times of national disasters, epidemic and pandemic like Measles and the COVID-19.

“Most importantly, the office has the mandate to keep all data confidential for statistical purposes.” 

By Adel Fruean 15 October 2021, 10:53PM
Samoa Observer

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