Jamaica’s 15th housing and population census to start April 2021

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, says Jamaica’s 15th housing and population census will officially get underway on April 5, 2021.

Dr. Clarke said the exercise, to be conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), for which he has portfolio responsibility, is expected to be completed within three months. STATIN’s pre-census preparations have commenced.

Dr Nigel Clarke, Finance and the Public Service Minister

He made the announcement during the opening ceremony for the 44th Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (October 28).

The housing and population census provides information on the size of the population in areas such as age, sex, religion and education. The last census was done in 2011.

Minister Clarke advised that the Government will be earmarking funds for the exercise in the 2021/22 Budget “to ensure that [the undertaking] is a success”.

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He noted that the overall engagement is extensive and “takes a lot of resources”, and entails pre-planning, the enumeration activity during which demographic data is captured, and, thereafter, aggregated and analysed and the results disseminated.

Meanwhile, Dr Clarke announced plans by the Administration to promulgate amendments to the Statistics Act, to legislate conducting a population census every 10 years.

“We have to ensure that, for future generations, this becomes a part of the laws of Jamaica”

— Dr Nigel Clarke, Finance and the Public Service Minister

While acknowledging that the 10-year timeline between censuses is consistent with international best practices, he contended that “we cannot leave it to a convention”.

“In many countries, it’s actually a legal requirement for the census to occur every 10 years. In other countries, it’s actually in the Constitution. I know in the United States (US), it’s in the Constitution that the Federal Government ensures that the National Statistics Office is endowed with the resources to allow it to conduct the census every 10 years,” the Minister noted.

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“We have to ensure that, for future generations, this becomes a part of the laws of Jamaica,” he stressed.

The SCCS meeting is being held from October 28 to 30 under the theme ‘Building Resilience of the Caribbean Community’. It is being co-hosted by CARICOM and STATIN.