Department of Statistics launches Pre-Test before 2020 Census

Marlon Johnson, Financial Secretary, announces plans for a mini-census, in advance of the upcoming Census of Housing and Population. He is flanked on his left by Leona Wilson, Acting Director and Clara Lowe; at right, Kim Saunders and Leslie Hunter. The press conference took place at the Department of Statistics on March 10, 2020. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

The Department of Statistics has launched a pre-test in advance of its first digital census 2020. Details of the pre-test, a mini-census, and the upcoming Census of Housing and Population were announced during a press briefing Tuesday, March 10, 2020.“This year census workers will do all data collection using digital devices, which means the data will be directly uploaded, validated and processed in real-time by a robust software solution that was pioneered and co-financed by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,” said Leona Wilson, Acting Director. In addition to planning and policy decision making for the government and private sector, census data is used to determine school zones, locations of housing developments, and allocation of public resources. Marlon Johnson, Acting Financial Secretary, said the move to a digital platform with the use of tablets is in line with the government’s digital agenda.

“This will allow us not only to capture information more quickly but to have that information more accurately and to do more interesting things with the information once we get it,” he said. “We anticipate that the full report and elements of the report will be coming out in a timely way and we expect the report to be amplified making use of the information in an interesting way so people can have an appreciation of what census information can do.”Mr. Johnson reminded the public that cooperation is mandated by law. “It is of critical importance that persons participate and make themselves available. If they have questions as to the validity of persons coming into their neighborhood they can contact the Department of Statistics to get validation that the persons are legitimate,” he said. He assured the public that individual information is kept private and the systems have multiple levels of protection to protect the data integrity.

“Software in the entire system that we are using is used by several countries. Protocols around the data protection are extraordinarily robust.” 50 census workers have been trained on the new digital system and new questionnaire and in preparation for the pre-test. Ms. Wilson said, “Census workers have been in the field to conduct the pre-test in New Providence and Grand Bahama. They will cover one district in each constituency over the period of a week. The specific districts were selected using a statistical model by our sample statistician team. While the data from the pre-test will not be used for any reporting purposes, the entire pre-test will assess our readiness, and allow us to make any adjustments that are necessary.” Some 1700 persons including enumerators, field supervisors and area managers will be hired for the 2020 Census of Housing and Population.

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