First-ever digital national census starts today

Jun 1, 2024, 4:44 PM | Article By: Adama Jallow & Osman Kargbo

The Gambia’s 2024 Population and Housing Census, which takes place every decade, is set to commence today 31 May 2024, as enumerators will visit compounds and households to conduct the country’s maiden full digital population and housing census.

The Statistician-General of the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), Nyakassi M.B. Sanyang, who was speaking at a press briefing held  yesterday at GBoS, said the population and housing census is in line with global recommendations, that every 10 years the Gambia conducts a population and housing census to provide information on the size, distribution and characteristics of the country’s population.

Giving a picture of the exercise, Mr Sanyang said all the census centres in various districts had launched field operations starting with the listing of compounds, buildings and structures across the country to be followed by the counting of all persons living in the country on census night, which he said, is fixed for May 31, 2024.

Mr Sanyang said that the census “data are used for policy making, planning and administration likewise in management and evaluation of programmes in education, labour force, housing, health, transportation and rural development”.

The census is also an invaluable resource for businesses and industries, he said, adding that it also provides them with the basic data they need to appraise the demand for housing, schools, furnishings, food, clothing, recreational facilities, medical supplies and other goods and services.

“The census is the unique statistical operation that provides groups, essential for decision making, planning, managing, and evaluating programme activities at the geographical level,” he said.

He  further said the census significantly provides sample frame for implementation of household surveys for years to come, adding that in this year’s census, they would digitalize the conduct wherein “data will be collected using tablets, Geographical Information, System (GIS) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve the quality of data and reduce delay in making available the results of the census”.

He said implementing a digital census comes with numerous challenges relating to ICT, GIS, management of census personnel and logistical issues.

Despite all the challenges, he assured, the GBoS “is working tirelessly to implement quality census” in line with best international standards.

He further revealed that the enumeration phase of the population census encompasses two broad operations in sequence, which includes the listing  of households and structures and the counting and collecting of information on each individual that has passed the night in the country during the census night.

Sanyang concluded that GBoS has recruited 5,309 enumerators and 1,087 supervisors that will be visiting each part of the country and each household during the census enumeration period.