Kingdom’s census to enter key phase

Riyadh: The Kingdon’s census will enter a key phase next week with the nationwide listing of buildings and commercial entities, including abandoned homes, tents and mud houses built in far-flung desert areas.

More then 8,000 field inspectors have been deployed by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI) of the Ministry of Planning, to count and nunber the buildings as part of the second phase of the census to be completed by April 27.

Plans are also afoot to recruit women candidates to work as census enumerators, when the headcount begins on April 23,”said Abdullatif I. Al- Khamees, a CDSI spokeman, here on Thrusday.

Al- khamees said that CDSI had deployed some 400 enumerators in Riyadh alone during the phase alone. “For the final phase the CDSI has traned 43,000 men, mostly teachers, who will be sent to every nook and crenny of the country by the end of this month to collect population deta,” he added.

The census, he said, will eventually create a comprehensive identity database in the country. The Saudi government formally launched its fourth national population and housing census on Feb.

9 to cover 25 million Saudis and expatriate in the 13 provinces og the country. The enumerators will collect information like the nunber of men and women in a family, their educational qualifications, marital status, disability if any, occupation, job, owning mobile phones, computers, internet and water supply.

This information will also help the government to find out demographic trends, map out future plans in terms of expending amenities and also strengthen security. In fact, the Kingdom has been using population indicators in formulating future plans and policies, especially in terms of building new schools, roads, hospitals and many other public utilities. Data on disabilities will help to chalk out rehabilitation programs for disabled members of society, while data on births will determine fertility rates among women.

Asked about the problems faced by the enumerators, since they are already in the field counting buildings and commercial hopuses, Al-Khamees said that the inspectors and supervisors are “definitely facing some difficulties, but not problems.”

The census involves a large number of workers, who are interacting with people on the ground and hence there will be some difficulties here and there, he explaned. He said that the CDSI would also recruit women as data collectors for places that have women-only sections. Women data collectors will not be deployed in the field, he added.

He also warned people not to respond to telephone calls from unknown persons posing as census enumerators. In fact, all census information will be taken from the head of the family, who will be personally contacted by a CDSI enumerator.

“The enumerators with official ID cards will visit each and every house belonging to Saudi and expatriate,” said Al- Khamees, advising people to be careful and vigilant, but not worried.

He reassured the public, particularly persons living in the Kingdom illegally, that all information would remain strictly confidential.

The 2010 census, the fourth in the Kingdom’s history, is being conducted simultaneously with other Gulf states within the frame-work of a decision made by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The first census in Saudi Arabia was held in 1974, which put the total population at 7,009,466 of whom 6,218,361 were Saudi nationals. The second census in 1992 counted 16,948,388 people, while the third in 2004 revealed a population of 22,678,262 people including 16,527,340 Saudis.

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