20 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 Netherlands Antilles*
Raymond Romer and Hans van Leusden **
1. The Netherlands Antilles conducted a national population and housing census in the months of January and February 2001. Census day was designated as 29 January. To emsire maximum cooperation and participation, a widespread publicity campaign was organized. In the publicity campaign the slogan “Census 2001, Count me in” and a jingle bearing the same name were used. Testimonials spoken by community leaders were broadcast daily on the radio beginning two weeks before census day, and a promotion film was run daily on television beginning one week before census day. A flyer was also distributed by the post office to all households in the country in the week prior to the week of census day. Posters were placed in supermarkets and government buildings, which are frequently visited by the public.
2. Besides the publicity campaign, effective use was also made of all popular talk shows on both radio and television to inform and to communicate with the people. These efforts all proved to be very effective and greatly assisted in maximizing participation.
3. As part of the preparations for the census taking in January 2001, the census team made a round of presentations for stakeholders (i.e., government departments, utility companies, the social security agency and others) during 2000. In these presentations the purpose of the census was explained and a short analysis of the results of the last census (1992) was presented to give the stakeholders an idea of what the census could mean to them.
4. During these presentations the stakeholders were able to suggest topics to be included in the questionnaire, but it was also explained to them that the statistical office had the final word. Stakeholders were invited to participate in analysis activities in coordination with the statistical office.
5. A system of population registry was implemented in 1930 in the Netherlands Antilles. This population registry was automated in 1998. Since 1999 the statistical office has made use of data collected from the automated system to compile population statistics. To compile social statistics, however, it is still necessary to use household surveys to collect data, because up until now the administrative databases are not completely automated. The government has started the process of implementing “e-government”, which requires all the administrative databases to be automated. When this is completed, it may not be necessary to conduct a census in the future. However, household surveys would still be necessary.
6. Data capturing is being done making use of scanning technology. For this purpose the head of our automation department was trained by the software vendor in San Diego. The software being used is TELEFORM. In June 2000 a test census was conducted and processed to, among other things, try out the scanning technology. This proved to be an important factor for the success we are now experiencing with the data processing, because we discovered that the layout of the questionnaire plays an important role for the successful implementation of the scanning technology. We do not think that outsourcing of census activities is a good idea.
7. One member of the staff is responsible for census activities. He is also responsible for the archiving of the census documentation during the intercensal years. Some two years before the census was taken, this staff member became the leader of a project team, which consisted of the head of the department of field operations, the head of the department of automation, the head of the department of public relations and one member of the management team. This project team is responsible for making all the necessary preparations for carrying out the census.
8. The department of public works is in the possesion of a digital map that is being kept up to date by that department. The statistical office tried to obtain the digital map on electronic medium from the department of public works in order to map out blocks for the interviewers to be used in the field, but the department of public works was willing to make only printouts on paper, which in some cases proved to be not very efficient to handle in the field. However, we think it will be possible to develop a geographic information system (GIS) with the cooperation of the department of urban planning.
9. The interviewing period covered eight days. During that period the interviewers visited all households (addresses) in the country to hold interviews, but, of course, not all the households could be reached during that period. All those households that could not be reached (because of refusal, vacation, illness or other reasons) during the eight days were registered and were visited in a completion count, which took place during the month following the interviewing period. A registry was kept of all the households that were not interviewed at all for the census. This registry now will help to evaluate the coverage.