6 July 2001
Symposium on Global Review of 2000 Round of
Population and Housing Censuses:
Mid-Decade Assessment and Future Prospects
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat
New York, 7-10 August 2001
Statement from Kyrgyzstan *
Mr. Zarybek Kudabaev **
1. Primarily on the initiative and with the direct participation of the National Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan, a concise and comprehensive legal basis was established for the successful conduct of the first national population census of Kyrgyzstan in 1999. This legal basis included the law relative to the population census, decrees of the President, resolutions of the government and other legal acts which determined the tasks of all participants at each stage in the census. Mr. A. Akaev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, gave public support for the census, and this ensured that the census was significantly important and recognized as a national event.
2. In order to elaborate general frameworks and principles of demographic policy in Kyrgyzstan and to provide for an organizational structure for the conduct of the first national population census of 1999, the Republican Commission on Population was established and headed by the State Secretary of Kyrgyzstan. This Commission consisted of heads of ministries and departments, as well as heads of regional state administration. Fruitful assistance from regional, district, urban state administration and local governments, as well as good arrangements for explaining the census to the public, contributed to the preparation and successful conduct of the census during the data-collection stage.
3. To help people remember the census and stimulate their interest, a lottery with valuable prizes was held. Census respondents received lottery tickets and were eligible for prizes. This encouraged cooperation in the census and played an important role in attracting people to be counted. The lottery for inhabitants of the capital, Bishkek City, was held in July 1999, and the lottery for the rest of the population was held at the end of 1999.
4. International organizations were also involved in preparation, conduct and dissemination of results. During the planning stage, social and economic changes that occurred during reforms in our young state were taken into account. In order to be able to compare results of the census with earlier enumerations, the methodology of the All-Union Population Census of 1989 was followed, as were recommendations of the UN Statistics Division, the UN Population Fund, the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, and the Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
5. During preparations for the census, consultations with users were also held. In order to limit the size of the questionnaire, the question on status of employment was omitted, but some information on that subject could be obtained from the question on sources of income. In addition, questions concerning the age of dwellings and types of walls were excluded. These questions had been included in the census of 1989, but the results were not efficiently used.
6. In October 1999, September 2000 and May 2001 seminars with users on the strategy of preparations, publication and dissemination of census results were held. Printed publications, regardless of the cost of production, still remain the preferred way to disseminate census results. Publications were distributed to public administration and local government officials at all levels, as well as to scientific establishments, educational institutions and a wide range of users.
7. In addition, the National Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan and its local offices used other ways to disseminate results. Thus, many data from the first publication, Main Results of the First National Population Census of the Kyrgyz Republic of 1999, were put on the Internet. The use of a programme of elaboration and an established database enable the census organization to prepare data to meet requests of individual users.
8. It is worth noting that in connection with significant changes in the society, the first national population census covered the whole population in order to establish a fundamental and reliable base, unlike the previous censuses and international practice.
9. Population censuses are the basis of national statistics. They provide basic data and update current statistics. Moreover, the population census is the most reliable and accurate source of information. For some indicators, it is the only source of data. It is also reasonable to conduct sample censuses or population surveys between censuses, especially during the transition period, when significant changes in the economic and social life of the society are occurring.
10. In order to ensure quality, full coverage and timeliness of data, and because of poor experience with other methods, the population census of 1999 in Kyrgyzstan was conducted by the method of interviewing. This was also the method that would best be able to cope with considerable internal and external migration that has occurred in the country.
11. Completed questionnaires were checked, coded and entered into personal computers using a specially designed program of data input. Manual data input and the establishment of a computing centre in Bishkek City helped to reduce data-processing costs.
12. Using microcomputers to register individual data is not possible under the circumstances of our country. Establishment of our own computer centre made it possible to process data on our own, and it also ensured the confidentiality of data. Data confidentiality was ensured at all stages of the census, and it is guaranteed in the law relative to the population census.
13. During the enumeration period of the census, 27,000 people were trained as temporary census staff. In regional statistical offices since January 2001, the average number of census staff of five to seven persons has been reduced to one person, who prepares archival materials on regional levels and disseminates results of the census. The National Statistical Committee has been reduced in size from 15 persons to eight persons; they are engaged in the production of publications of the results of the population census for the republic and for regions. Publication of results of the 1999 population census will be completed in 2002. However, because of existing significant changes in the demographic and socio-economic structure of the population, it is extremely important to conduct population sample surveys in 2004, following the census of 1999.
14. During the preparation and conduct of the population census, considerable attention was paid to map design for districts (rayons) and inhabited areas. For the population census of 1999, maps were designed for inhabited areas with populations of more than 3,000 people. (In 1989, the cut-off was 5,000 people.) However, experience has shown that it is necessary for the next census to have plans or drawings for each inhabited area regardless of its size.
15. In accordance with the resolution of the government of Kyrgyzstan, cartographic materials were prepared by regional and district offices of planning and architecture. Cartographic materials were checked and used by district and urban statistical offices, which then divided the territory into enumeration units. Each supervision and enumeration area was given certain maps of inhabited areas.
16. For the first time, the National Statistical Committee has ordered the state cartography agency to digitize the territories of regions, districts, towns and rural settlements. For Bishkek City and regional centres, blocks and micro-rayons were digitized. Based on digitized maps, different thematic maps were prepared and presented in publications. Use of thematic maps makes results more easily understood.
17. The work on the design and use of maps in electronic format for the census is an essential basis for the next population census. Moreover, it would improve the quality of mapping and reduce the time spent for this complicated stage. In that connection, the work on mapping should be continued with the help of geographic information system (GIS) development.
18. Kyrgyzstan does not have experience in conducting post-census surveys. Conduct of these surveys requires additional financial resources, and it influences the timeliness of population census data.
19. With a view to ensuring coverage and quality of the census, other activities were held. They included issuing certificates to show that a person had completed the questionnaire and was covered by the census, as well as conducting sample enumeration. Kyrgyzstan has experience with these methods, and they were tested once again during the pilot population census. At the same time, some additions were introduced. For instance, in Bishkek City all counted persons were given certificates. In this city and in some other towns, enumeration activities were prolonged, and additional enumeration areas were established in markets and educational establishments in order to achieve full coverage of cover persons residing in private houses and in houses of their relatives.
20. As for the next census, it is expected that some additions will be included. For instance, conducting enumeration activities by other independent supervisors and enumerators may further improve enumeration. During the next pilot census, enumeration activities could be undertaken using two different methods, and the effectiveness of the two methods could then be compared.