24 July 2001
Symposium on Global Review of 2000 Round of
Population and Housing Censuses:
Mid-Decade Assessment and Future Prospects
United Nations Secretariat
New York, 7-10 August 2001
Statement from Czech Republic *
Marie Bohata and Jan Matejcek **
1. The Population and Housing Census in the Czech Republic took place on 1 March 2001 on the basis of a special act passed by the Parliament of the Czech Republic in 1999. As in other countries, population censuses are carried out once every 10 years. The Czech Statistical Office (CSO) was responsible for the execution of the census in 2001 and for processing its results. The CSO was, therefore, in charge of the organization, management and coordination of the census. Involved in the census were also many governmental departments (ministries) and institutions (e.g., Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre) and, further, district authorities and municipalities. As in the past, the self-enumeration method was used—i.e., the questionnaire was completed by each counted person or through enumerators. In order to test all the census stages—from the preparation in the municipalities and the design of the questionnaires up to the processing of tabulation outputs—a pilot census was conducted covering 16,000 households in all the districts of the Czech Republic in 1999.
2. The mobilization of financial resources for a census is among the most complex problems tackled by a statistical office during census preparations. The costs of censuses in the Czech Republic are fully covered by the state budget, which is approved by the government and Parliament of the Czech Republic.
3. Discussions on the areas and the contents to be included in the 2001 census started roughly four years before the census. The discussion partners were all the main data users, i.e., ministries and other specialized central authorities, scientific institutions, universities, some ethnic minority organizations, churches, local authorities and so forth.
4. In addition, the Central Commission for the Population Census was established following a decision by the Czech government. It assumed the role of a coordinating and consultative body to the president of the Czech Statistical Office; its membership consisted of the representatives of all the cooperating institutions.
5. The form and strategy of the census, and particularly the adequately long period of time devoted to the preparation of its contents and discussions with users, proved successful. However, what we know from experience of previous censuses was borne out: there was a demand for detailed information covering various social and economic characteristics, which was difficult for the census to meet due to the complexity of contents, organization and cost.
6. The Czech Republic did not have administrative registers that could substitute, at least partially, for the population census.
7. The basic method of data collection for demographic statistics is a full coverage of all demographic events, namely, births, deaths, migration, marriages and divorces. Its output is monthly information on the state and natural and mechanical movement of the population and an annual balance of the estimated size of population in each municipality of the Czech Republic. Each population census provides a basis for a correction of demographic statistics—that is, a correction of the size and structure of the population, as well as other statistics and registers.
8. Similarly, statistical surveys are taken in selected areas of social statistics. Nevertheless, a population census produces a large volume of information that cannot be generated by any other method.
9. The technology of optical data scanning (OCR/ICR) was used for the first time in the history of population censuses in the Czech Republic. Prior to optical scanning, entries in the form of words (other than digits or marked values) were converted into digital codes (for example, questions on nationality, religion or occupation). While this technique simplifies the process of optical scanning, it increases organizational and technical demands, including additional staff and financial resources.
10. Data capture is followed by a check on optically captured data and a plausibility check. These procedures, like all other stages of the census, are centralized and subject to a strict regime of data protection.
11. After data are captured, they are processed into a form of standard tabulation outputs. This is connected with the process of deriving indicators. The data processing is built on databases, specifically on products and applications of the database system Oracle.
12. The processing of tabular data is followed by the dissemination. As in previous censuses, data will be processed in a large variety of combinations of breakdowns and detail; however, hard-copy outputs will be reduced in favour of electronic dissemination, including the Internet.
13. The results of a census represent a basis for new time series on which all current statistics and registers over the next decade are built. Updates of these results differ from area to area. Some information (e.g., information on nationality, religion and some characteristics of families and households) is the only reliable source of data until the next census.
14. In an intercensal period, a population census provides a sampling frame for various surveys, such as microcensuses that are focused on income and social differentiation of households, housing enquiries, public opinion polls and so forth. A new dimension is the use of the Census 2001 results for updating the census district register.
15. Anonymous data are preserved and archived and are used for making various non-standard outputs for any territorial unit and any characteristics.
16. The implementation of the Geographical Information System (GIS) to prepare and process census results is another innovation in the 2001 population and housing census in the Czech Republic. The census district register has become its integral part.
17. The Czech Republic is divided into more than 50,000 census districts. The census district (enumeration unit) is an organizational and territorial unit which serves as a domain for the execution of a census. Borders between the census districts correspond to the administrative unit of parts of municipalities. On average, one census district embraces 80 dwellings. One enumerator is in charge of one census district.
18. Each enumerator received, inter alia, the following:
· A description of a respective census district containing a list of all houses with addresses where the census was to be conducted. This description was an output from the regularly updated census district registers, which were established using the results of the 1991 population and housing census.
· A map of the census district with its borders, streets and houses marked. Digitalized cadastre maps were used for the population census, where the geographical layer of houses and the borders of individual census districts were drawn from the census district register.
19. The Czech Statistical Office does not use any special follow-up surveys to assess the completeness and quality of a population census. Where possible, however, it analyses the data for completeness and quality. The fundamental method is the comparison with the results of previous censuses and the use of available information from current statistical surveys (demographic statistics, housing construction statistics, etc.) and some other registers.
20. The completeness of a census is assessed after the processing of preliminary results is finished. The population numbers in individual municipalities of the Czech Republic shown by the preliminary results of the population and housing census of 2001 were compared with the results of demographic statistics and with the population registers maintained by the Ministry of the Interior. The relatively small discrepancies (smaller than in the population census of 1991) do not require any new surveys among the population.
21. The following discrepancies were found:
· Compared with demographic statistics, the census counted 41,600 fewer persons, i.e., 0.4 per cent;
· Compared with the register of the Ministry of the Interior, the census counted 21,600 fewer persons, i.e., 0.2 per cent.