A census official conducting a census in2012. Image credit newzimbabwe.com

A census official conducting a census in2012. Image credit newzimbabwe.com

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.

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