A population census refers to the head – count of the people. It is the process by which the number of people living in a country or a given geographical area is counted. It developed countries it is carried out by the government at regular intervals, usually every ten years. Population census provides information about age, sex, occupation, residence.
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TYPES OF POPULATION CENSUS
- DE-FACTO POPULATION CENSUS: This is a system of counting only those who are physically present during census.
- DE-JURE POPULATION CENSUS: In this type of census, person who are regular residents in a particular place are counted irrespective of the place they are residing temporarily. It does not matter whether the person is present or not. This is the population census commonly referred to as counting by PROSY
IMPORTANCE OF THE POPULAITON CENSUS
- POPULATION SIZE: Population census helps the government to know the number of people living in the country.
- REVENUE ESTIMATES: It also helps in the determination of the taxable adults so as to know the amount of revenue expected.
- FORECASTS FUTURE ECONOMIC NEEDS: The population census also enable the country to forecast her future economic needs e.g. housing, schools, food etc.
- FORUMULATION OF ECONOMIC POLICIES: The number of people in a country is used to formulate economic policies
- DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCES: Population census assists the government in the distribution of resources e.g. area of high population like Lagos and Kano will get more resources than area of low population
- A population census enables the government to obtain adequate and relevant statistics which will serve as a basis for economic planning.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH POPULATION CENSUS
- HIGH COST: Huge amount of money is involved in the conduct of population census.
- SHORTAGE OF CENSUS PERSONNEL: Trained personnel like demographers are not easily available hence the use of untrained personnel in the conduct of census lead to inaccurate result.
- HIGH DEGREE OF ILLITERACY: As a result of the high level of illiteracy in many developing countries, it has become very difficult to conduct a successful population census as these people do not know how to read and write. This makes self-enumeration difficult.
- PROHIBITIVE CUSTOMARY AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: Some types of custom and religion make census taking difficult. For example in the Muslim areas women are not allowed to appear freely in public. For this reason, they may not be seen by census enumerators.
- INADEQUATE MEANS OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION: Many rural areas have no motorable road and adequate means of sending and receiving messages. These problems hamper easy movement of census officials.
- POOR REGIONAL PLANNING: Most town and villages are not planned.
- What is population census? Of what importance is it to the government?
- What are the problems of population census?
- State the implications of i. Optimum population ii. overpopulation