By Llonella Gilbert, Bahamas Information Services
NASSAU, Bahamas – In The Bahamas a census is conducted every 10 years.
Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Peter Turnquest remarked at the official launch of the ‘2020 Census of Population and Housing’ at the Department of Statistics, January 22th, 2018 that the data collected during the upcoming census — which will start May 4th, 2020 — will be used for statistical purposes only, and will be held in the strictest confidence.
He explained, the Statistical Act of 1973 provided the necessary legal authority for the Department of Statistics to be the agency mandated by the Government of The Bahamas to conduct census and surveys throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
He added it is this Act, which also stipulates and gives the assurance to the public that all data collected will be used for statistical purposes only and will be held in the strictest confidence.
“In essence, the information collected will not be used to pry into your personal affairs on behalf of any agency. It will not be used against you in any manner and will not be disclosed along with information that can identify you to any individual or any entity or agency.”
The Acting PM also noted that it is vital that the general public play its role and that the Department of Statistics relies on their assistance and cooperation if the Department is to succeed in its goals of collecting timely, accurate and complete data.
“This has to be attempted in an [existing] environment of distrust where we are suspicious of any and everybody that comes knocking on our doors and asking for answers to a whole lot of personal questions, which many are not convinced are needed or relevant to them.”
He said this was evident in the recent Labour Force Survey.
“With the advances in technology moving forward, we will be taking steps to minimise the necessity for 100 per cent of these interviews to be completed in person and certainly on paper, but that is a little bit to come.”
The Acting PM explained that around the world, it is customary to conduct a census every five or 10 years. The Bahamas conducts a census every 10 years, with the most recent census in 2010.
The Population and Housing Census is the process of collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing demographic, socio-economic and environmental data pertaining to all persons in a country as well as compiling the national housing stock at a specific time.
He said since the last census was conducted many changes have taken place including changes in population growth, population age structure, employment and the average birth and death rates.
“Changes in any of these areas have implications for the demand for social services such as healthcare, education, as well as the development and upkeep of infrastructure related to utilities, such as water, electricity and roads,” Acting PM Turnquest said.
During the launch, Talamique Jolly Cadot was announced winner of an inter-departmental competition to choose a slogan for the 2020 Census of Population and Housing.