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KINGSTON – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon Dr. Kenneth Baugh, is urging nationwide support for the 2011 Population and Housing Census, which will be administered by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) over a four month period, beginning April 5.

This year's census, the island’s fourteenth since the commencement of the modern format in 1943, will be executed at a cost of approximately $1.4 billion, under the theme, “Everyone Counts – You, Me, All a Wi".

Speaking at the official launch at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday March 30, Dr. Baugh said data collated from the census will form the basis on which the Government will pursue national development.

Noting that Jamaica is “changing rapidly”, Dr. Baugh said much has happened since the last census in 2001. These changes include a higher level of life expectancy among the citizenry; migration overseas by persons in search of alternative opportunities, with foreigners taking up residence locally; houses being built and communities being created where none existed previously; and electoral boundaries being re-drawn to reflect population changes.

In addition, he said, the government has moved to upgrade the infrastructure in many communities, but more needs to be done. He urged residents to look out for the census takers, and if they are not at home when the census taker calls, the census taker will return on appointment.

He also assured that personal information collected during the process will not fall into the wrong hands, or be passed on to another agency.

“The Statistics Act strictly prohibits the use of census data in any other way than for statistical purposes. The information can only be released in aggregate format and in a manner that prevents any one person from being identified,” he said.

Dr. Baugh urged STATIN that in compiling the data, they be mindful of the environment in which persons reside, in light of the natural disasters.  

“As government, we need to know where there are environmental issues and challenges to existing and proposed settlements,” he said.

“All this information is important and will feed into the attainment of the goals of Vision 2030, our National Development Plan,” Dr. Baugh said.

He commended STATIN's Director General, Sonia Jackson, and her staff, on their reputation for producing accurate and reliable statistical data.      

 

By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter