The latest official total population of Vanuatu should be officially declared by June this year after the national population census was held on November 16, 2020.
While it may seem a long time for people of Vanuatu to wait for the official records to be made public in June, by standards of past national census’s, that is six months early.
The previous census in 2009 took over one year for data to be cleaned and analysed before it was officially declared by the minister.
Government Statistician, Andy Calo, said the main reason that the census official declaration will be made six months early is due to the use of information and communications technology (ICT). Mr Calo said enumerators used tablets to collect data in the field after experience in the 2016 mini census.
Data collected were uploaded directly via the tablets.
“One of the mandates of this office is to produce and release data timely,” Calo said.
As a result, there will be less paperwork when it comes to cleaning the raw data.
The cleaning of data is taking place this week and will take place around two to three months, the Government Statistician said. Mr Calo stated: “I wish to thank all citizens and residents in Vanuatu that were part of the population census.
“It was not an easy task because when we were preparing to the conduct the population census, a pandemic affected all countries around the world.
“It (COVID-19 pandemic) caused a little disturbance but it was ok as this is an activity that we have to carry out every ten years.
“We proceeded and the counting was completed for all households in Vanuatu from Torres to Aneityum.
“The staff took a brief break and this week the staff are cleaning the data collected.
“Data cleaning takes up a lot of time.
“Data cleaning involves checking the data if everyone expected to be counted were covered in the census, and to verify if answers given were correct, in case a person is a male but field workers recorded as a female.
“We have to check inconsistencies, indicators, age of people. For example, a five-year-old child should not be employed.
“All these were already programme on the tablet but this will be verified again in this process.
“Data processing, data cleaning, data editing — all these processes will take place over the next two to three months because the counting stopped at almost 60,000 households,” Mr Calo said.
He said Vanuatu relies a lot on the assistance of partners such as the Pacific Community (SPC) to carry out the data cleaning process.
”The plan is that in June the Minister of Finance will declare the population of Vanuatu for 2020.
“But that depends on the Minister if he wants to give that honour to the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister to make the declaration,” the Government Statistician said.
He revealed that the cost of running the census by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) is around Vt200 million.
He said when the project ends all transactions will be reconciled by VNSO before a correct figure would be known.
“Normally when the minister makes the declaration he would also announce how much was spent to carry out the population census.
“Funding for the project came from the Vanuatu Government who provided Vt100 million, the EDF11 (European Union) provided Vt50 million and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided around Vt10 million.
“We also used the office budget, which is still the contribution of government, so it is likely the government’s contribution will increase,” Mr Calo.
When asked how people living overseas were counted, the Government Statistician revealed that the population census type used to count the population is called ‘de facto’.
De facto population census is when the population is counted at a point in time only in Vanuatu on the date of the census, where all residents that live in a household of the night of the census are counted.
But the other type of census is called ‘de jure’ that is used by some countries overseas that counts the population living in their place of residence, which includes those living overseas.
Mr Calo said Vanuatu has been using the de facto census since 1979 and all other census after 1980.
But his office is making a recommendation to change the current census type of de facto to de jure.