2020 population census gets under way

The latest census exercise kicked off yesterday with some 150,000 families selected for the national survey. Included in the count will be Singaporeans of all ages and foreigners living here, as well as Singaporeans who are studying, working or staying overseas.

For the first time, data will be collected on people with difficulties performing basic activities, such as hearing people speak and remembering things, for the compilation of disability-related statistics.

People chosen for the survey will be able to submit responses on their cellphones, with a new mobile-friendly version of the survey forms being introduced.

Interviewers doing the surveys face to face will use mobile tablets to collect the responses, to better the security of the data and accuracy.

Announcing the start of the exercise yesterday, the Department of Statistics (DOS) said the census will be taken over a period of six to nine months.

The Census of Population is the largest national survey undertaken here and is held every 10 years to collect data on key characteristics of the population. This includes data on demographic, social, economic and employment issues, as well as on housing, transportation and education, among other things.

The DOS said the information collected is important “for policy formulation and review, and for planning of programmes and services for the community”.

For instance, the information on people who have difficulties performing basic activities could allow the Government to gauge the proportion of people who need help and plan for support services. People will also be asked questions such as how much time they take to get to work, and this could inform planning of the transport system.

Census exercises are conducted in many countries around the world and the information collected can also be used for comparative studies. Selected households can submit their census survey forms via the Internet, telephone or through face-to-face interviews.

The DOS urged all those selected to cooperate. Under the Statistics Act, participation is compulsory and information provided will be kept confidential. “The cooperation of households in submitting their completed survey returns is crucial to the successful conduct of Census of the Population 2020. DOS looks forward to the participation of all selected households,” it said.

All households chosen for the survey will receive a notification letter from the DOS between this month and July, together with a token of appreciation for their participation.

This year’s census is the sixth since independence, and the 15th since census-taking started in Singapore in 1871.

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