KINGSTON — A sum of $174 million, which has been added to the 2011/12 budget, should be enough to complete the 2011 Population and Housing Census this month, as targeted.
After STATIN's Director-General, Sonia Jackson, explained that the agency had met a July 31 deadline to complete the field work, but needed to do some “mopping up”, census takers were sent out July 29-31 to target communities in Clarendon, Manchester, St. Andrew, St. Ann, St. Catherine and St. James.
But, after the field work ends, there is the data processing involving millions of pieces of paper collected from each of an estimated one million households (800,000 last count), including a form for each person, which should take six-nine months to process.
Miss Jackson says STATIN hopes to get the first report out by March, 2012, but that the full data will take much more time to be processed. However, while $1.3 billion was budgeted for the exercise, which started on April 5, it turned out that at least $1.4 billion was actually needed.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon Darryl Vaz, admitted recently that the cost had been underestimated, but that the Ministry of Finance had assured Cabinet that the shortfall would be met in the Supplementary Estimates.
The First Supplementary Estimates, tabled last Tuesday by Minister of Finance, the Hon Audley Shaw, revealed that an additional $174 million have been credited to the census, increasing the total allocation from $1.3 billion to $1.474 billion, which should cover the underestimation.
The census is critical to Vision 2030, Jamaica’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to reach developed country status by 2030 and is based on a vision of Jamaica as “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business".
The United Nations (UN) recommends a census every 10 years, to facilitate changes in the structure and movement of population. Census 2011 was implemented within the recommended UN 2010 World Programme framework, covering 2005 to 2014. Jamaica's last census was done in 2001, when the population count was 2,607,632 persons.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor