AThe Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) started the initial phase of the 2017 general census of population, housing, and establishments. The initial phase includes collecting data of residential and non-residential buildings, and extends until 10 March 2017.
According to Abou Bakr El-Gendy, head of CAPMAS, this phase is a fundamental step for the success of the census of the population, as it is scheduled to provide the number of households and establishments, which contributes to shaping future plans and policies of the state.
El-Gendy pointed out the importance of this census as a huge national project that provides all statistical data necessary so that policy and decision makers can set appropriate future plans for all segments of society. His remarks came during a press conference organised by CAPMAS a few days ago to announce the start of the census, which runs until 10 June 2017.
He stressed that the census aims to manage the government’s need to know what is lacking in terms of services through the data collected.
He added that the total cost of the census does not exceed EGP 800m, 80% of which are allocated to the salaries of employees and participants implementing the census. He pointed out that the census cost in Egypt is one of the lowest in the world, especially since most of the costs are salary-related, which is low compared to other countries of the world.
The number of employees participating in the census amounts to 40,788, 13,000 of which are associate assistants; also deploying 2,500 associates, 250 inspectors, 250 observers, and 38 coordinators, according to El-Gendy.
According to preliminary estimates, it is expected that the census includes 14m buildings, 35m housing units, 24-25m households, between 93m and 100m citizens, and 7m establishments.
He explained that the quality and accuracy of data of the current census will be much higher than that of the previous census from 2006, as this one will not depend on printed forms and will make use of modern technology.
He added that the tablet devices that will be used to collect the data do not accept erroneous or contradictory information. At the same time, he stressed the need for the cooperation of citizens with employees to get clear and accurate data.
He said that the citizen has to cooperate in the census, stressing that all over the world, citizens who do not submit clear data are criminalised. There are penalties prescribed by law in this regard, which starts with a fine up, possibly even leading up to imprisonment.
He explained that during this phase, employees will collect the characteristics of buildings, and he pointed out that all buildings of the republic are numbered and registered on the geographical map.
He noted that the properties collected—buildings and residential units—are related to the type of building, classified as residential or commercial, the date of its establishment, its condition, the availability of facilities and services, its occupancy, its location, and other characteristics.
Various forms have been prepared in foreign languages to be used in the current census of population for the purpose of being able to collect data from foreign residents in Egypt, according to Sharaf El-Din.
He explained that when an associate of the census visits a foreign family, they leave the data form in the language spoken by the family to fill it. The associate then comes back later to receive the filled out form.
According to Nermin Shehata, who is responsible for electronic registration of the census at CAPMAS, employees will be collecting data for families who wish to record their data electronically during the population phase and throughout the building phase.
She confirmed that the families that do not notify the associate with their desire to register online for their data will not be able to participate in the enumeration stage, in which case they must give their data to the tasked census associate to be recorded on his own tablet device.
She explained that the online registration will take 15 days, starting 28 March.
According to Hussein Abdel Aziz, general supervisor of the census, the use of modern technology will contribute to accelerating the declaration of the census’ final results. He expected that the declaration of these results will be after only eight weeks of the end of the census stages.
The final results of the 2006 census were announced after nearly 18 months of the census’ conclusion.
According to Abdel Aziz, the individual data of every citizen in the census will be protected and confidential according to the law. The law ensures that data is used only in statistical purposes, stressing that the law criminalises any leak of individual data.
He pointed out that this is the 14th ever census in Egypt and is the first electronic census in the history of the country. The previous 13 censuses have been conducted in the traditional manner, which is based on data collected through face-to-face interviews and using paper forms.
Censuses provide demographic, economic, and social data that pertain to all individuals, citizens and foreigners alike, in the country or in a specific part of it and in a certain period of time. Censuses also work on classification, display, analysis, publication, or distribution of this data in multiple formats.
Abdel Aziz said that CAPMAS seeks to ensure coverage of the population in the context of the planned schedule and budget and to reduce levels of non-response through good design work for the census and a comprehensive advertising campaign.
He added that CAPMAS is also committed to quality standards of the data-collection phase and to the distribution of the census’ results on schedule. It is committed to ensure that the census outputs meet the needs of the various stakeholders by involving them in what data is being collected and the topics it revolves around.
CAPMAS also aims to rationalise the cost of the census to ensure the integration of the census data with other appropriate databases, in order to apply legal and ethical standards to protect the confidentiality of individuals, according to Abdel Aziz.
He added that a set of forms will be used to collect data during the different phases of the census. Among the forms is the one that determines the population, which provides detailed data on households and individuals. Another form is used for residents of public housing and monasteries, hotel guests, and prison inmates, while a different form provides detailed data on operating and temporarily closed establishments.
According to Abdel Aziz, data of households and individuals as well as information on housing conditions are collected through two forms. The first is a condensed form and is applied to about 90% of households registered in the buildings phase. The second is a long form that includes all questions of the condensed form, in addition to some other questions to be applied on a systematic random sample representing about 10% of households only.
He explained that the census includes an integrated electronic system, which will automate all census operations through tablets, the internet, and digital maps.
He added that there will be direct contact between the employees and CAPMAS’ data centre to transmit data directly via internet, so that it would be added to the basic database. Employees shall also use digital geographic maps updated for all urban and rural areas in the country to ensure the accuracy and comprehensive coverage of all areas during the census work.
Abdel Aziz added that the electronic census also includes the provision of self-registration of population data for families online.