Social Issues

Pakistan kicks off first-ever digital census

Islamabad, Mar 1 (EFE).- Pakistan, the world’s 7th most-populated nation, on Wednesday began to carry out its seventh population census, which will also gauge the economic status of the citizens, with the data being collected digitally for the first time.

The launch of the census, the first to be carried out since 2017 and expected to continue for a month, was hit by multiple technical glitches, with users complaining of being unable to access the platform to register their families for the population-count.

“I tried to open the self-numeration portal a thousand times but it did not open in the first place,” Arshad Malik, an Islamabad resident, told EFE on Wednesday.

Although the digital app, available since Feb. 20, is expected to make data collection easier, a team of over 126,000 enumerators will go door to door to register people, Sarwar Gondal, the spokesperson of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, told EFE.

The census would be divided in around 185,000 blocks, with each of them including around 200-250 houses, according to the the National Database and Registration Authority.

The enumerators would compile data about people’s lifestyle, age and gender, apart from the number of rooms in the house, the basic services they avail of and how many individuals inhabit the residence.

“More than 495 Census Support Centers have been set up across the country and more than 126,000 electronic devices will be used in the process,” the PBS spokesperson said.

He added that for the first time in Pakistan, an economic census was also being carried out to help with the country’s growth, development and planning.

This initiative is expected to help authorities decide aid allocation for the underprivileged sections, in order to boost employment and infrastructure.

The census is expected to cost over 34 billion Pakistani rupees (around $130 million), with the result set to be announced 30 days after the process ends.

Pakistan’s population stood at 207 million according to the sixth census carried out in 2017, the first to be held in 19 years.

The last census was the first to separately count transgender people, and although initially the number was put at 10,418, it later rose to 21,000 after some communities said that their territories had witnessed an undercount.

Pakistan has carried out population censuses in 1951, 1961, 1972, 1998 and 2017. EFE


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