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The Different Phases of the Census

Census Concepts and Definitions

A population census is defined as “the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and publishing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specified time, to all person in a country or in a well delineated part of a country”, the United Nations recommends that countries conduct a census every 10 years. Population and Housing censuses are important statistical operations undertaken to collect information needed for a variety of purposes.

The fundamental purpose of a census is to provide benchmark information on the size, distribution, composition and other socio-economic characteristics of the population. This information is necessary for planning policies and programs, monitoring the implementation of national and global development agenda and for research.

Since its independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has conducted two censuses in 2004 and 2010 both of which were implemented according to the guidelines of a modern population and housing census.

The 2004 census provided benchmark information at all administrative units. In the period preceding the 2010 Population and Housing census of Timor-Leste (2010 TLS Census) enormous challenges in the country among them Timor-Leste being a very young country, its high rates of unemployment and illiteracy; and not so optimistic demographic indicators, the country required up-to-date, reliable and relevant information for evidence-based and effective decision-making. It is against this background that the Government through the National Statistics Directorate (NSD) conducted its second census in July 2010.

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