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Questions About Census
According to Wikipedia: “In Great Britain, a census has been carried out every ten years since 1801, except for 1941. It attempts to count all people and households on one day—traditionally where the people spent the night. The Census is overseen by the Office for National Statistics.
“A census form is delivered to every household and residential establishment in the country. The forms are completed by members of the household (officially by the ‘Head of the household’), referring to the specified date of the census, and returned by post. Participation is a statutory requirement, and enumerators follow up any households from which no form is returned.
“It is the most complete source of information about the population because it aims to include everyone. The results of the census are considered the nearest there can be to a gold standard. National population data are collected at one time. “Criticisms of the Census include a tendency to undercount children, young men, homeless people, and members of the armed forces. In 1991, it was estimated that ten per cent of men in their 20s and eight per cent of people over 85 were missed.”
In the United Kingdom it was reported that, “In 2001, the census form was completed by 94 per cent of the population in England and Wales, with a further four per cent identified by the census enumerators, though the results still represent 100 per cent of the population through the use of cross-matching with a follow-up survey.”
At the launch of the Trinidad and Tobago 2011 Population and Housing Census Demographic report by Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, he was in high praise of the work done by the Central Statistical Office. We are impressed with the print and layout, but we have concerns about the authenticity of the data. Whereas in the UK it is mandatory by a £1,000 fine to those who refuse to complete census forms, in T&T it is an exercise with numerous shortcomings.
In the preface to the census report, Carol Salim, census administrator, and Dave Clement, director at Statistics Census Office, write, “A census is the largest, most demanding data-gathering exercise that a National Statistical Organization will ever undertake. The 2011 Population and Housing Census confronted many challenges throughout all stages of its implementation and successfully overcame them all.
“The difficulties in enumerating crime hot spots and gated communities distributed throughout T&T, led to the extension of the field enumeration exercise. However, this challenge also fostered the creativity and tenacity of the Field Data Collection Team and allowed the 2011 census to achieve 89 per cent response rate.”
And they went on to admit, “In order to plan and execute such a large-scale project as a Population and Housing Census, the census officer and the census planning and management team must seek the co-operation, collaboration, contribution and synergy of large numbers of individuals and institutions from all walks of life.”
The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha is fully aware of the population movements that are taking place in our country. Large numbers of our younger citizens are travelling to the United States, Canada, the UK and even Australia and New Zealand to further education and for work opportunities. We are also aware of the influx of people from Grenada, St Vincent and Jamaica together with our South American neighbour, Guyana. But dramatic changes in numbers would not occur in the short term.
The census “takers” attempt to change the measurements from “mixed” in 2000 to “double mixed” in 2011 has caused skeptics like myself to raise questions. In the 2000 census, the mixed population was reported 20.5 per cent but in 2011 the mixed African and East Indian was reported as 7.6 per cent and the mixed other as 15.1 per cent. No explanation has been offered for the shift in the way this category is measured and we sense a political agenda.
The census administrators wrote about seeking “co-operation and collaboration” but when the Maha Sabha wrote them on December 15, 2010, we received no acknowledgement or invitation to assist.
Our letter reads:
Director, Central Statistical Office,
The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Inc of Trinidad and Tobago attention has been drawn to a document entitled “Central Statistical Office—Mapping Unit Specification—Appendix 1.” The Maha Sabha wishes to point out under the category labelled “Religious Buildings” the icon used is that of a church in which the Christian cross figures prominently.
In a multi-religious society such as Trinidad and Tobago the use of such an icon is clearly inappropriate and lacks religious sensitivity. More importantly the recent judgment delivered by Justice Peter Jamadar that resulted in the removal of the Trinity Cross as the nation’s highest award underscored the need by the State to refrain from the use of religious symbolism of any particular denomination. Given this, the Maha Sabha requests that the use of this form be revised before the 2011 census begins in January.
We look forward to your response on this matter.
cc Senator Mary King,
Minister of Planning.
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