The 2010 Population and Housing Census gets underway officially on Sunday, September 26, to collect detailed statistics on the size of the population for effective planning.
Midnight of Sunday, referred to as Census Night, is the specific time that will be used to determine where an eligible individual is to be enumerated.
The two-week exercise, which ends on October 12, is also to collect data on the composition and distribution of Ghana’s population, the residential accommodation and facilities in use.
“This information will be crucial in determining the development policy direction of the county,” according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
It adds that the census will be an important source of comprehensive data on persons with disabilities, helping to assess their social and living conditions in terms of school attendance and educational attainment, employment, marital status and living arrangements.
This is the first time disability issues are being included in the Population and Housing Census.
GSS says the census is to cover all persons within the borders of Ghana at midnight on Sunday, irrespective of nationality and civil status.
It will also include a housing census, which is the official enumeration of all living quarters, either occupied or vacant, and occupants thereof at that time.
“The enumeration also implies the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of demographic and socio-economic statistics relating to the population,” according to GSS.
At midnight on Sunday, the siren at the General Post Office in Accra would be sounded apparently to click an imaginary camera that would take a picture of all people in Ghana at the time and, therefore, qualified to be counted, no matter their nationality, profession, sex or mental condition.
The enumeration of the floating population will include guests in hotels, passengers of all modes of transportation and people without permanent residential structures such as head porters, the destitute, vagrants and lunatics.
A top government official is expected to announce the official kick-off of the census and other government officials and traditional leaders will go round various places across.
GSS says the census is being conducted within the framework of the UN 2010 Global Census Programme in which almost all countries are participating between 2005 and 2014.
Ghana has had 10 population censuses since 1891. The last population census was in 2000 when 18.9 million people were counted. Estimates have put Ghana’s population at 23.4 million.
The government is providing about 90 percent of the funding with donors assisting in the exercise estimated at some 50 million US dollars.
About 50,000 enumerators have been trained to undertake the enumeration exercise while about 27,240 enumeration centres have been created.
GSS said census officials will collect information about people on where they spent Census Night and only one person will need to be interviewed in each household.
“The census is about all population groups and everyone and every detail counts,” it said, adding that “information you provide is protected under the confidentiality provisions of the Statistical Service Law (1985).”
Respondents are to remember who spent the night in their household; be ready to provide information about all members of the household and guests at Census Night; indentify all members of the household, including babies born before midnight of census night; and provide correct information on characteristics of household members.
Some of the information required are date of birth; age and place of birth; nationality; ethnicity; religion; number of years lived in town or village; marital status of those 12 years and older; literacy; educational characteristics; economic activity; disability; number of children ever born alive and children surviving; number of household who died in the past 12 months; agricultural activity, such as crop cultivation, rearing livestock; fish breeding; farm size; numbers of livestock and type of fishery activity.
Questions on the housing conditions include type of dwelling; main construction material used; holding/tenancy arrangement and type of ownership; number of rooms the household occupies; number of sleeping rooms for household; number of household sharing single rooms; main source of lighting; cooking fuel; water for cooking; water for other domestic purposes such as cooking and washing; and mode of disposal of rubbish and liquid waste.
GSS urges the public to “provide truthfully, the information supervisors/ monitors request”.