A census in progress. Image credit times.co.za

A census in progress. Image credit timeslive.co.za

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Population:Advantages and Disadvantages of a Population Census

  • Like most things a population census has both its merits and demirits


  • It is the most accurate count of a country’s population on which official planning can be based upon.
  • It captures a wide spectrum of a country’s population data and characteristics.
  • It has a wider coverage of a country’s population as well as other variables such as housing, income, sanitation etc.


  • It is very expensive.
  • It can/is only be done after a long interval of time; 10 years in Zimbabwe.
  • It’s reliability is compromised in areas with high illiteracy.
  • It is not foolproof i.e. it takes time to conduct the census, usually a whole month in Zimbabwe, and during this interval the actual data on the ground is constantly changing.
  • Household heads do sometimes give false feedbacks thus compromising the data.
  • Inaccuracies may result if the personnel conducting the surveys are not properly trained to avoid double counting or skipping some households.

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.