18 July 2001
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† English and Spanish
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 Paraguay *
The Symposium on Global Review of 2000 Round of Population and Housing Censuses will focus on six main issues. Following are Paraguayís remarks on each of these issues.
1. Stakeholders will be consulted on the content of the census questionnaire in order to accommodate their various interests. Consultations will be conducted by mail and through meetings with each of the organizations concerned, which include all governmental departments, especially the ministries of education, health and labour, as well as non-governmental organizations working on population issues (reproductive health, housing, women, indigenous groups and so forth).
2. The role of stakeholders in census activities is to participate in the development of the questionnaire (proposing the inclusion of new content or redefining existing content), the execution of certain census activities, the dissemination of information about the census and the utilization of results.
3. The main function of the Department of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses is to coordinate meetings and discussions on the topics in the questionnaire in order to reach a consensus and meet the needs of users as far as possible. The method used to limit topics in the census questionnaire to essentials is to seek consensus that will ensure the optimum balance between the quantity and the quality of the information collected. Clients demand census information in the form of printed publications or in electronic form. In recent years especially, there has been a significant increase in consultations using the Internet and e-mail.
4. Paraguay, like most Latin American countries, suffers from serious underreporting of vital statistics (births, deaths, marriages), even though action is currently being taken to improve them. Nevertheless, sociodemographic statistics produced by household surveys, which allow living conditions to be measured, have in recent years become a rich and comprehensive source of information at aggregated geographical levels (this activity was funded by Industrial Development Board (IDB) grants from 1996 to 2001). In this connection, the population census is one of the main sources of reliable information on the countryís demographics at geographically disaggregated levels.
5. To finance the 2002 census, the Paraguayan Government has requested a loan from IDB which is currently being considered in Parliament and has already been approved by the Senate. This would make the 2002 census one of the first to be conducted with full government funding, since all previous censuses received international funding.
6. The selection of appropriate technology to conduct the census in Paraguay is based mainly on the experience of previous censuses in this country and in other countries which have recently conducted censuses. The Department is using advanced technology both to create the cartographic database (georeferenced aerial photographs in digital format and satellite images) and to collect data. Indeed, for the first time optical scanning will be used for the processing of census questionnaires, permitting the publication of census results in record time (two to three months). All previous censuses were processed by hand and took eight to nine months.
7. †Technical support is being provided by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics under the Common Census project of the 2000 round of MERCOSUR, and local specialists in the use of this new technology are also providing assistance. TELEFORM software will be used and the Departmentís own technicians will carry out all the procedures for both managing and collecting information, thereby ensuring confidentiality in the handling of census information.
8. One of the methods which the Department is using to document all the activities carried out is to draft minutes of all the meetings held to serve as a basis for the drafting of a Census 2002 report that will be available in electronic (CDs) and printed form. In addition, the Departmentís web site already has a space for progress reports on the census and will also serve as an input for institutional memory.
9. As mentioned in previous paragraphs, we have a georeferenced cartographic database which is in the process of being updated in the field and which is expected to cover the entire national territory. It is estimated that approximately 14 months of fieldwork will have to be carried out prior to taking the census, so as to have fully updated maps and an estimate of households in order to divide up work areas.
Another of the Departmentís strategies is to use the results of other surveys that have already been carried out, such as the land registry census of the countryís main cities, in order to avoid duplication of effort and make optimum use of time and resources. One problem that could delay the cartographic update is the timely availability of funds. If funds are not provided on time, that could delay the cartographic updating process, in which case we are considering the possibility of postponing the 2002 census to a later year.
10. The Department does not plan to conduct a post-enumeration survey (PES), because of the factors mentioned above. The method of evaluation will be demographic analysis (through census reconciliation). In this connection, census results are adjusted not on the basis of a PES but in terms of the consistency of the information collected, based on subsequent analysis of the data produced and their comparison with earlier censuses, with projections and with the composition of key demographic aspects such as fertility, mortality and migration.
* ††††† This document was reproduced without formal editing.
††††††† Direccion General de Estadistica, Encuestas y Censos, Paraguay. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author and do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the United Nations Secretariat.