Importance of conducting the census

The Legal Authority for conducting this Population and Housing Census is the Statistical Service Act 2019 (Act 1003). This Law empowers the Government Statistician to conduct statistical surveys and any census in Ghana. In the last decade, almost all global and national development agendas have consciously called for inclusivity of all persons, especially the vulnerable, leading to the phrase leave no one behind. This clarion call has emphasized the need for nations to conscientiously undertake the age-long recommendation of a decennial Population and Housing Census (PHC) without gaps and as a constitutional responsibility of every government. To this end, the conduct of a PHC must primarily ensure that everyone is counted, enumerated once and at the right place. These three conditions are the primary quality assurance indicators and constitute the basis for realizing the merits of conducting a PHC.

The conduct of a PHC in 2021 compellingly, transcends a constitutional mandate given the severalty of global and national happenings and development aspirations as well as technological innovations underscoring data capture and use. The 2020 PHC will provide an indispensable framework in using administrative data to track the national, regional and global development agendas namely the Coordinated Programme of Economics and Social Development Policies, the Africa Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the PHC as a standalone data source has been identified to provide data to the lowest level of disaggregation to monitor some of the SDG indicators, it is the basis upon which the other sources of data for tracking the SDG indicators will be determined and benchmarked. It is therefore imperative that the 2021 Census ensures everyone is counted, enumerated once and at the right place.

The data revolution agenda which is underscored by technology has widened the scope of data sources, created an avenue for validation across different data sources and more importantly, equipped planners with a wider array of development alternatives. Specifically, the complementary or in futuristic terms, the substitutability of traditional sources of data (censuses and surveys) with fast emerging reliance on administrative and big data across the globe, calls for a must and accurate conduct of a PHC in 2021. The conduct of a PHC in 2021 will provide a framework to validate data from different sources and engender the transition to contemporary modes and sources of data for planning.

You Should Know

A Population Census is the complete enumeration of all persons in a country at a specified time. The enumeration implies the collection, compilation, evaluation, analysis, publication and dissemination of demographic, social and economic statistics relating to the population.

A Housing Census is the complete enumeration of all living quarters (occupied and vacant) in a country at a specified time. This enumeration also implies the collection, compilation, evaluation, analysis, publication, and dissemination of statistical data pertaining to these living quarters and the occupants.

A Population and Housing Census consists of a population census and a housing census as one operation. The two censuses, though separate, constitute one statistical operation and they are not completely independent of each other because of the essential elements of each census which are common to both and are also with well-coordinated activities.

The information on the population and living quarters can be more readily matched, and processing is facilitated, and extensive analysis can be carried out. This also makes it possible to relate to the housing census data, the information on demographic and economic characteristics of each household member that is routinely collected in the population census.

A Population and Housing Census (PHC) has many uses. In the first place, it will give us the total number of persons and housing types and their characteristics in every town or village or a given small area in the country. This information will be of great help to the Central and Local Governments in planning various educational, health, housing and other social services. The information that will be derived from the census will also help the private sector, including businesses to plan their activities, which will be of benefit to the economic development of this country. In addition, international bodies, including Development Partners (DPs) and Non-Governmental Organizations will also utilize the Population and Housing Census data when planning for Ghana.

Interested in the 2021 PHC reports?