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Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Sonia Jackson, is imploring young persons to become more involved in the country's civic affairs.

Speaking at the launch of the Census in Schools programme, at the Holy Cross Church, Kingston, on Tuesday (February 1), Ms. Jackson said that being involved in national affairs is important for Jamaica’s survival and development.

Ms. Jackson said young persons can get involved, by helping to deliver the message of the importance of participating in census taking. The census is the total process of collecting, compiling and publishing demographic, social and economic data pertaining to a specified time for all persons in a country.

She pointed out that, according to data provided for 2009, young persons (below the age of 18 years) account for 35 per cent of the approximately 2.7 million persons in the country. She noted that this was the reason why this segment of the population was targeted to aid in sensitising the public about the upcoming 2011 Population and Housing Census.

“You have to be counted, you are tomorrow’s adults and you are our future. We need to know who you are; we need to know where you are; we need to get you on board,” she explained.

Addressing an audience comprising mainly students, Ms. Jackson urged those present to encourage parents and guardians to welcome the census takers, and to provide the necessary information.

“You need to encourage them to participate in the process, because you want to be part of the process,” she said, adding that it is important that every member of every household be counted. She said the data collected are used by the Government for planning for the future development of the country.

Ms. Jackson also assured that personal information provided, will be kept in strict confidence.

The Census in Schools programme will provide educators with resources to inform the nation’s students of its importance, so children can help deliver this message to their families. The programme will seek to ensure that every child and every household member is counted.

STATIN also partnered with the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in preparing material, to provide students with information to help them understand the process.

Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Winston Forrest, said the Census in Schools programme is a very important exercise, because it is children who convince parents and bring about community to action.

“In this way we know that, not only is it important that we have a population census but, as far as possible, all should be involved,” he said.

Deputy Director of the UNFPA’s Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Hernando Agudelo, said the UNFPA has been working throughout the Caribbean, conducting censuses, as an important aspect of the development of a country. He said that the information gathered will help determine the living conditions of persons and how they can be assisted.

The 2011 Population and Housing Census, themed: ‘Every one Counts – You, Me, All a Wi!’, will begin on April 4 and last until July.

The last population and housing census was conducted in 2001. At that time, the population count was 2,607,633. Since then annual estimates of the total population have been done and, at December 2009, the population was estimated at 2,698,800 with 1,329,300 males and 1,369,500 females.

 

CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH