ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Population:Population census
- A census is an official and complete enumeration (counting) of the population with details such as sex,age, occupation etc.
- It is a specific count of the entire population in a given area/country at a specific time.
- In Zimbabwe censuses are conducted at ten year intervals.
- For example 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012 were all census years.
- It involves the process of collecting population information as well as the processes of compiling and publishing that population.
- A census is the most comprehensive and accurate method of compiling information.
- The basic unit for collecting information is a household.
- A household is made up of a person or persons who live and eat together.
- While a census questionnaire which contains a list of questions can be sent to each the head of each household this is rarely if ever done.
- In Zimbabwe trained census officials go from household to household interviewing the head of each household and filling the questionnaire.
- The entire country is divided into small units called enumeration units to ensure maximum coverage of the country’s population.
- The enumeration areas usually cover about 500 people with one enumerator operating in it.
- The questions in the questionnaire cover the following areas:
- Demographic/Population characteristics such as age, sex, fertility, mortality and migration.
- Housing characteristics for example the type of house and its location( is it rural or urban)
- Available services such as running water and electricity
- A census might also cover areas such as income, availability of services such as T.V, Radios cars etc.
NB Visit this page to view the advantages and disadvantages of a population census.
To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.