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A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording
information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale at a restaurant is data – this becomes information when the business is able ...

information
about the members of a given
population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size of the resident population within their jurisdiction by a process called a ce ...
. This term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common censuses include the census of agriculture, and other censuses such as the traditional culture, business, supplies, and traffic censuses. The
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
defines the essential features of population and housing censuses as "individual enumeration, universality within a defined territory, simultaneity and defined periodicity", and recommends that population censuses be taken at least every ten years. United Nations recommendations also cover census topics to be collected, official definitions, classifications and other useful information to co-ordinate international practices. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in turn, defines the census of agriculture as “a statistical operation for collecting, processing and disseminating data on the structure of agriculture, covering the whole or a significant part of a country.” “In a census of agriculture, data are collected at the holding level. Text was copied from this source, which is available under
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO (CC BY 3.0 IGO)
license.
The word is of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
origin: during the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
, the census was a list that kept track of all adult males fit for military service. The modern census is essential to
international comparisons International comparisons, or national evaluation indicators, focuses on the quantitative, qualitative, and evaluative analysis of one country in relation to others. Often, the objective is to compare one country's performance to others in order ...
of any kind of statistics, and censuses collect data on many attributes of a population, not just how many people there are. Censuses typically began as the only method of collecting national demographic data, and are now part of a larger system of different surveys. Although population estimates remain an important function of a census, including exactly the geographic distribution of the population or the agricultural population, statistics can be produced about combinations of attributes e.g. education by age and sex in different regions. Current
administrative dataAdministrative data are collected by government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally cons ...
systems allow for other approaches to enumeration with the same level of detail but raise concerns about privacy and the possibility of biasing estimates. A census can be contrasted with
sampling Sampling may refer to: *Sampling (signal processing), converting a continuous signal into a discrete signal *Sample (graphics), Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound ...
in which information is obtained only from a subset of a population; typically main population estimates are updated by such
intercensal estimate In demographics, an intercensal estimate is an estimate of population between official census A census is the procedure of systematically enumerating, and acquiring and recording information about the members of a given Statistical population, po ...
s. Modern census data are commonly used for research, business
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adve ...

marketing
, and planning, and as a baseline for designing sample surveys by providing a sampling frame such as an address register. Census counts are necessary to adjust samples to be representative of a population by weighting them as is common in
opinion poll An opinion poll, often simply referred to as a poll or a survey, is a human research survey of public opinion Public opinion is the collective opinion of the people of a society on a specific topic or voting intention. Democracy requires publ ...
ing. Similarly,
stratification Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...

stratification
requires knowledge of the relative sizes of different population strata, which can be derived from census enumerations. In some countries, the census provides the official counts used to apportion the number of elected representatives to regions (sometimes controversially – e.g., ''
Utah v. Evans ''Utah v. Evans'', 536 U.S. 452 (2002), was a United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA ...
''). In many cases, a carefully chosen random sample can provide more accurate information than attempts to get a population census.


Sampling

A census is often construed as the opposite of a sample as its intent is to count everyone in a population rather than a fraction. However, population censuses do rely on a
sampling frameIn statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a ...
to count the population. This is the only way to be sure that everyone has been included as otherwise those not responding would not be followed up on and individuals could be missed. The fundamental premise of a census is that the population is not known and a new estimate is to be made by the analysis of primary data. The use of a sampling frame is counterintuitive as it suggests that the population size is already known. However, a census is also used to collect attribute data on the individuals in the nation, not only to assess population size. This process of sampling marks the difference between a historical census, which was a house to house process or the product of an imperial decree, and the modern statistical project. The sampling frame used by census is almost always an address register. Thus it is not known if there is anyone resident or how many people there are in each household. Depending on the mode of enumeration, a form is sent to the householder, an enumerator calls, or administrative records for the dwelling are accessed. As a preliminary to the dispatch of forms, census workers will check any address problems on the ground. While it may seem straightforward to use the postal service file for this purpose, this can be out of date and some dwellings may contain a number of independent households. A particular problem is what are termed 'communal establishments' which category includes student residences, religious orders, homes for the elderly, people in prisons etc. As these are not easily enumerated by a single householder, they are often treated differently and visited by special teams of census workers to ensure they are classified appropriately.


Residence definitions

Individuals are normally counted within households, and information is typically collected about the household structure and the housing. For this reason international documents refer to censuses of population and housing. Normally the census response is made by a household, indicating details of individuals resident there. An important aspect of census enumerations is determining which individuals can be counted and which cannot be counted. Broadly, three definitions can be used: ''de facto'' residence; ''de jure'' residence; and permanent residence. This is important in considering individuals who have multiple or temporary addresses. Every person should be identified uniquely as resident in one place; but the place where they happen to be on
Census Day A census is the procedure of systematically enumerating, and acquiring and recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence ...
, their ''de facto'' residence, may not be the best place to count them. Where an individual uses services may be more useful, and this is at their usual residence. An individual may be recorded at a "permanent" address, which might be a family home for students or long term migrants. A precise definition of residence is needed, to decide whether visitors to a country should be included in the population count. This is becoming more important as students travel abroad for education for a period of several years. Other groups causing problems of enumeration are new-born babies, refugees, people away on holiday, people moving home around census day, and people without a fixed address. People with second homes because they are working in another part of the country or have a holiday cottage are difficult to fix at a particular address; this sometimes causes double counting or houses being mistakenly identified as vacant. Another problem is where people use a different address at different times e.g. students living at their place of education in term time but returning to a family home during vacations, or children whose parents have separated who effectively have two family homes. Census enumeration has always been based on finding people where they live, as there is no systematic alternative: any list used to find people is likely to be derived from census activities in the first place. Recent UN guidelines provide recommendations on enumerating such complex households. In the census of agriculture, data is collected at the agricultural holding unit. An agricultural holding is an economic unit of agricultural production under single management comprising all livestock kept and all land used wholly or partly for agricultural production purposes, without regard to title, legal form, or size. Single management may be exercised by an individual or household, jointly by two or more individuals or households, by a clan or tribe, or by a juridical person such as a corporation, cooperative or government agency. The holding's land may consist of one or more parcels, located in one or more separate areas or in one or more territorial or administrative divisions, providing the parcels share the same production means, such as labour, farm buildings, machinery or draught animals.


Enumeration strategies

Historical censuses used crude enumeration assuming absolute accuracy. Modern approaches take into account the problems of overcount and undercount, and the coherence of census enumerations with other official sources of data. This reflects a realist approach to measurement, acknowledging that under any definition of residence there is a true value of the population but this can never be measured with complete accuracy. An important aspect of the census process is to evaluate the quality of the data. Many countries use a post-enumeration survey to adjust the raw census counts. This works in a similar manner to
capture-recapture Mark and recapture is a method commonly used in ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical ...
estimation for animal populations. Among census experts this method is called dual system enumeration (DSE). A sample of households are visited by interviewers who record the details of the household as at census day. These data are then matched to census records, and the number of people missed can be estimated by considering the numbers of people who are included in one count but not the other. This allows adjustments to the count for non-response, varying between different
demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided i ...
groups. An explanation using a fishing analogy can be found in "Trout, Catfish and Roach..." which won an award from the
Royal Statistical Society The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is an established statistical society. It has three main roles: a British learned society for statistics, a professional association, professional body for statisticians and a charity which promotes statistic ...
for excellence in
official statistics Official statistics are statistics published by Government, government agencies or other public bodies such as international organizations as a Public good (economics), public good. They provide quantitative or qualitative information on all major a ...
in 2011. Triple system enumeration has been proposed as an improvement as it would allow evaluation of the statistical dependence of pairs of sources. However, as the matching process is the most difficult aspect of census estimation this has never been implemented for a national enumeration. It would also be difficult to identify three different sources that were sufficiently different to make the triple system effort worthwhile. The DSE approach has another weakness in that it assumes there is no person counted twice (over count). In ''de facto'' residence definitions this would not be a problem but in ''de jure'' definitions individuals risk being recorded on more than one form leading to double counting. A particular problem here is students who often have a term time and family address. Several countries have used a system which is known as short form/long form. This is a
sampling Sampling may refer to: *Sampling (signal processing), converting a continuous signal into a discrete signal *Sample (graphics), Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound ...
strategy which randomly chooses a proportion of people to send a more detailed questionnaire to (the long form). Everyone receives the short form questions. This means more data are collected, but without imposing a burden on the whole population. This also reduces the burden on the statistical office. Indeed, in the UK until 2001 all residents were required to fill in the whole form but only a 10% sample were coded and analysed in detail. New technology means that all data are now scanned and processed. During the
2011 Canadian census The 2011 Canadian Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (o ...
there was controversy about the cessation of the mandatory long form census; the head of
Statistics Canada Statistics Canada (StatCan; french: Statistique Canada), formed in 1971, is the government agency, agency of the Government of Canada commissioned with producing statistics to help better understand Canada, its population, resources, Economy of ...
,
Munir SheikhMunir Sheikh (born 1947) is a Canadian economist. Early career Born in Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the ...
, resigned upon the federal government's decision to do so. The use of alternative enumeration strategies is increasing but these are not as simple as many people assume, and are only used in developed countries. The Netherlands has been most advanced in adopting a census using
administrative dataAdministrative data are collected by government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally cons ...
. This allows a simulated census to be conducted by linking several different administrative databases at an agreed time. Data can be matched and an overall enumeration established allowing for discrepancies between different data sources. A validation survey is still conducted in a similar way to the post enumeration survey employed in a traditional census. Other countries which have a population register use this as a basis for all the census statistics needed by users. This is most common among Nordic countries, but requires many distinct registers to be combined, including population, housing, employment and education. These registers are then combined and brought up to the standard of a statistical register by comparing the data in different sources and ensuring the quality is sufficient for official statistics to be produced. A recent innovation is the French instigation of a rolling census programme with different regions enumerated each year, so that the whole country is completely enumerated every 5 to 10 years. In Europe, in connection with the 2010 census round, many countries adopted alternative census methodologies, often based on the combination of data from registers, surveys and other sources.


Technology

Censuses have evolved in their use of technology: censuses in 2010 used many new types of computing. In Brazil, handheld devices were used by enumerators to locate residences on the ground. In many countries, census returns could be made via the Internet as well as in paper form. DSE is facilitated by computer matching techniques which can be automated, such as
propensity score matching In the statistical analysis of observational data, propensity score matching (PSM) is a statistical matching technique that attempts to estimate the effect of a treatment, policy, or other intervention by accounting for the covariate Dependent ...
. In the UK, all census formats are scanned and stored electronically before being destroyed, replacing the need for physical archives. The record linking to perform an administrative census would not be possible without large databases being stored on computer systems. There are sometimes problems in introducing new technology. The US census had been intended to use handheld computers, but cost escalated and this was abandoned, with the contract being sold to Brazil. Online response has some advantages, but one of the functions of the census is to make sure everyone is counted accurately. A system which allowed people to enter their address without verification would be open to abuse. Therefore, households have to be verified on the ground, typically by an enumerator visit or post out. Paper forms are still necessary for those without access to the internet. It is also possible that the hidden nature of an administrative census means that users are not engaged with the importance of contributing their data to official statistics. Alternatively, population estimations may be carried out remotely with
GIS A geographic information system (GIS) is a conceptualized framework that provides the ability to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data. GIS applications (or GIS apps) are computer-based tools that allow the user to create interactive ...

GIS
and
remote sensing image of Death Valley colored using polarimetry. Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus is in contrast to on-site observation. The term is applied e ...

remote sensing
technologies.


Development

According to UNFPA, "The information generated by a population and housing census – numbers of people, their distribution, their living conditions and other key data – is critical for development." This is because this type of data is essential for policymakers so that they know where to invest. Unfortunately, many countries have outdated or inaccurate data about their populations and thus have difficulty in addressing the needs of the population. UNFPA said:
"The unique advantage of the census is that it represents the entire statistical universe, down to the smallest geographical units, of a country or region. Planners need this information for all kinds of development work, including: assessing demographic trends; analysing socio-economic conditions; designing evidence-based poverty-reduction strategies; monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of policies; and tracking progress toward national and internationally agreed development goals."
In addition to making policymakers aware of population issues, the census is also an important tool for identifying forms of social, demographic or economic exclusions, such as inequalities relating to race, ethics, and religion as well as disadvantaged groups such as those with disabilities and the poor. An accurate census can empower local communities by providing them with the necessary information to participate in local decision-making and ensuring they are represented. The importance of the census of agriculture for development is that it gives a snapshot of the structure of the agricultural sector in a country and, when compared with previous censuses, provides an opportunity to identify trends and structural transformations of the sector, and points towards areas for policy intervention. Census data are used as a benchmark for current statistics and their value is increased when they are employed together with other data sources.


Uses of census data

Early censuses in the 19th century collected paper documents which had to be collated by hand, so the statistical information obtained was quite basic. The government owned the data could publish statistics on the state of the nation. The results were used to measure changes in the population and apportion representation. Population estimates could be compared to those of other countries. By the beginning of the 20th century, censuses were recording households and some indications of their employment. In some countries, census archives are released for public examination after many decades, allowing genealogists to track the ancestry of interested people. Archives provide a substantial historical record which may challenge established views. Information such as job titles and arrangements for the destitute and sick may also shed light on the historical structure of society. Political considerations influence the census in many countries. In Canada in 2010 for example, the government under the leadership of Stephen Harper abolished the mandatory long-form census. This abolition was a response to protests from some Canadians who resented the personal questions. The long-form census was reinstated by the Justin Trudeau government in 2016.


Census data and research

As governments assumed responsibility for schooling and welfare, large government
research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may ...

research
departments made extensive use of census data. Population projections could be made, to help plan for provision in local government and regions. Central government could also use census data to allocate funding. Even in the mid 20th century, census data was only directly accessible to large government departments. However, computers meant that tabulations could be used directly by university
research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may ...

research
ers, large businesses and local government offices. They could use the detail of the data to answer new questions and add to local and specialist knowledge. Nowadays, census data are published in a wide variety of formats to be accessible to business, all levels of government, media, students and teachers, charities, and any citizen who is interested; researchers in particular have an interest in the role of Census Field Officers (CFO) and their assistants. Data can be represented visually or analysed in complex statistical models, to show the difference between certain areas, or to understand the association between different personal characteristics. Census data offer a unique insight into small areas and small demographic groups which sample data would be unable to capture with precision. In the census of agriculture, users need census data to: # support and contribute to evidence-based agricultural planning and policy-making. The census information is essential, for example, to monitor the performance of a policy or programme designed for crop diversification or to address food security issues; # provide data to facilitate research, investment and business decisions both in the public and private sector; # contribute to monitoring environmental changes and evaluating the impact of agricultural practices on the environment such as tillage practices, crop rotation or sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; # provide relevant data on work inputs and main work activities, as well as on the labour force in the agriculture sector; # provide an important information base for monitoring some key indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular those goals related to food security in agricultural holdings, the role of women in agricultural activities and rural poverty; # provide baseline data both at the national and small administrative and geographical levels for formulating, monitoring and evaluating programmes and projects interventions; # provide essential information on
subsistence agriculture Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmers grow food crops to meet the needs of themselves and their families on smallholdings. Subsistence agriculturalists target farm output for survival and for mostly local requirements, with little or no su ...
and for the estimation of the non-observed economy, which plays an important role in the compilation of the national accounts and the economic accounts for agriculture.


Privacy and data stewardship

Although the census provides useful statistical information about a population, the availability of this information could sometimes lead to abuses, political or otherwise, by the linking of individuals' identities to anonymous census data. This is particularly important when individuals' census responses are made available in microdata form, but even aggregate-level data can result in privacy breaches when dealing with small areas and/or rare subpopulations. For instance, when reporting data from a large city, it might be appropriate to give the average income for black males aged between 50 and 60. However, doing this for a town that only has two black males in this age group would be a breach of privacy because either of those persons, knowing his own income and the reported average, could determine the other man's income. Typically, census data are processed to obscure such individual information. Some agencies do this by intentionally introducing small statistical errors to prevent the identification of individuals in marginal populations; others swap variables for similar respondents. Whatever is done to reduce the privacy risk, new improved electronic analysis of data can threaten to reveal sensitive individual information. This is known as statistical disclosure control. Another possibility is to present survey results by means of statistical models in the form of a multivariate distribution mixture. The statistical information in the form of conditional distributions (
histogram A histogram is an approximate representation of the distribution of numerical data. It was first introduced by Karl Pearson Karl Pearson (; born Carl Pearson; 27 March 1857 – 27 April 1936) was an English mathematician A mathematician i ...

histogram
s) can be derived interactively from the estimated
mixture model In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with ...
without any further access to the original database. As the final product does not contain any protected microdata, the model-based interactive software can be distributed without any confidentiality concerns. Another method is simply to release no data at all, except very large scale data directly to the central government. Different release strategies between government have led to an international project (
IPUMS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) is the world's largest individual-level population database. IPUMS consists of Microdata (statistics), microdata samples from United States ''(IPUMS-USA)'' and international ''(IPUMS-International)'' c ...
) to co-ordinate access to microdata and corresponding metadata. Such projects such as SDMX also promote standardising metadata, so that best use can be made of the minimal data available.


History of censuses


Egypt

Censuses in Egypt first appeared in the late Middle Kingdom and developed in the
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of th ...
Pharaoh Amasis, according to
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...
, required every Egyptian to declare annually to the
nomarch A nomarch ( grc, νομάρχης, egy, ḥrj tp ꜥꜣ Great Chief) was a provincial governor in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, ...
, "whence he gained his living". Under the Ptolemies and the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
several censuses were conducted in Egypt by government officials


Ancient Greece

There are several accounts of ancient Greek city states carrying out censuses.


Israel

Censuses are mentioned in the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...
. God commands a per capita tax to be paid with the census for the upkeep of the
Tabernacle , Israel According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost ...

Tabernacle
. The
Book of Numbers The Book of Numbers (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
is named after the counting of the Israelite population according to the house of the Fathers after the exodus from Egypt. A second census was taken while the Israelites were camped in the plains of
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an ancient kingdom whose territory is today loca ...
. King
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in the ...
performed a census that produced disastrous results. His son, King
Solomon Solomon (; he, שְׁלֹמֹה, ''Shlomoh),'' ''Šlēmūn''; Arabic: سُلَيْمَان ', also Varieties of Arabic, colloquially: ' or '; el, Σολομών ''Solomōn''; Latin: Salomon) also called Jedidiah (Hebrew ''Yedidyah''), was, a ...

Solomon
, had all of the foreigners in Israel counted. When the Romans took over Judea in AD6, the legate
Publius Sulpicius Quirinius Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (c. 51 BC – AD 21), also translated as Cyrenius, was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman pe ...
organised a
census A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information about the members of a given Statistical population, population. This term is used mostly in connection with Population and housing censuses by country, na ...
for tax purposes. The
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringin ...
links the birth of Jesus either to this event, or to an otherwise unknown census conducted prior to Quirinius’ tenure.


China

One of the world's earliest preserved censuses was held in China in AD2 during the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
, and is still considered by scholars to be quite accurate.Twitchett, D., Loewe, M., and Fairbank, J.K. ''Cambridge History of China: The Ch'in and Han Empires 221 B.C.–A.D. 220''. Cambridge University Press (1986), p. 240. The population was registered as having 57,671,400 individuals in 12,366,470 households but on this occasion only taxable families had been taken into account - indicating the income and the number of soldiers who could be mobilized. Another census was held in AD144.


India

The oldest recorded census in India is thought to have occurred around 330BC during the reign of Emperor
Chandragupta Maurya Chandragupta Maurya (reign: 321–297 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory ...
under the leadership of
Kautilya Chanakya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is bas ...

Kautilya
or Chanakya and
Ashoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Ashoka
.


Rome

The English term is taken directly from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
''census'', from ' ("to estimate"). The census played a crucial role in the administration of the Roman government, as it was used to determine the class a citizen belonged to for both military and tax purposes. Beginning in the middle republic, it was usually carried out every five years. It provided a register of citizens and their property from which their duties and privileges could be listed. It is said to have been instituted by the Roman king
Servius Tullius Servius Tullius was the Roman mythology, legendary sixth king of Rome, and the second of its Etruscan civilization, Etruscan dynasty. He reigned from 578 to 535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his Slavery in ancient Rome, servile origins and ...
in the at which time the number of arms-bearing citizens was supposedly counted at around 80,000. The 6AD "
census of Quirinius The Census of Quirinius was a census of Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία ...
" undertaken following the imposition of direct Roman rule in
Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Bib ...
was partially responsible for the development of the
Zealot The Zealots were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judea (Roman province), Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notabl ...
movement and several failed rebellions against Rome that ended in the
Diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...
. The 15-year
indiction An indiction ( la, indictio, impost) was a periodic reassessment of taxation in the Roman Empire which took place every fifteen years. In Late Antiquity, this 15-year cycle began to be used to date documents and it continued to be used for this pu ...
cycle established by
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia (Roman province), Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ...
in AD297 was based on quindecennial censuses and formed the basis for dating in late antiquity and under the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...
.


Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates

In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
, the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
began conducting regular censuses soon after its formation, beginning with the one ordered by the second
Rashidun , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic representation of Rashidun Caliphs , birth_place = Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah () and commonly shortened to Makk ...
caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state An Islamic state is a form of government based on Islamic law. As a term, it has been used to describe various historical Polity, polities and theories of governance in the Islami ...
,
Umar ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb ( ar, عمر بن الخطاب; 3 November 644), also spelled Omar, was the second Rashidun caliph , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic Calligrap ...

Umar
.


Medieval Europe

The
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of William I, known as William the Conqueror. Domesday has lon ...
was undertaken in AD1086 by
William I of England William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman monarch of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1 ...

William I of England
so that he could properly tax the land he had recently conquered. In 1183, a census was taken of the
crusade The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...
r
Kingdom of Jerusalem The Kingdom of Jerusalem ( la, Regnum Hierosolymitanum; fro, Roiaume de Jherusalem; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle ...
, to ascertain the number of men and amount of money that could possibly be raised against an invasion by
Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, An-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb; ku, سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی, Selahedînê Eyûbî; 11374 March 1193), better kno ...

Saladin
, sultan of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in ...

Syria
. 1328 : First national census of France (''L'État des paroisses et des feux'') mostly for fiscal purposes. It estimated the French population at 16 to 17 millions.


Inca Empire

In the 15th century, the
Inca Empire The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admini ...

Inca Empire
had a unique way to record census information. The Incas did not have any written language but recorded information collected during censuses and other numeric information as well as non-numeric data on
quipus Quipu (also spelled khipu) are recording devices fashioned from String (structure), strings historically used by a number of cultures in the region of Andes, Andean South America. Knotted strings for collecting data, government management and k ...
, strings from
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It c ...

llama
or
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It can a ...

alpaca
hair or cotton cords with numeric and other values encoded by knots in a
base-10 The decimal numeral system A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is t ...
positional system.


Spanish Empire

On May 25, 1577,
King Philip II of Spain Philip II ( es, Felipe II; 21 May 152713 September 1598) was King of Spain (1556–1598), King of Portugal (1580–1598, as Philip I, pt, Filipe I), King of Naples and List of monarchs of Sicily, Sicily (both from 1554), and ''jure uxoris'' Kin ...

King Philip II of Spain
ordered by royal cédula the preparation of a general description of Spain's holdings in the Indies. Instructions and a questionnaire, issued in 1577 by the Office of the Cronista Mayor, were distributed to local officials in the Viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru to direct the gathering of information. The questionnaire, composed of fifty items, was designed to elicit basic information about the nature of the land and the life of its peoples. The replies, known as "", were written between 1579 and 1585 and were returned to the Cronista Mayor in Spain by the Council of the Indies.


World population estimates

The earliest estimate of the world population was made by
Giovanni Battista Riccioli Giovanni Battista Riccioli (17 April 1598 – 25 June 1671) was an Italian astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astr ...

Giovanni Battista Riccioli
in 1661; the next by Johann Peter Süssmilch in 1741, revised in 1762; the third by
Karl Friedrich Wilhelm DietericiKarl Friedrich Wilhelm Dieterici (23 August 1790 – 30 July 1859) was a Germany, German political economist. Biography Dieterici was born and died in Berlin. He was an engineer-geographer in Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Blücher's army from ...
in 1859. In 1931, Walter Willcox published a table in his book, ''International Migrations: Volume II Interpretations'', that estimated the 1929 world population to be roughly 1.8 billion.


Impact of COVID-19 on census


Impact

UNFPA The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide. Its work includes developing national healthcare strategies a ...
predicts that the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified from an outbreak in the Chinese city of ...
will threaten the successful conduct of censuses of population and housing in many countries through delays, interruptions that compromise quality, or complete cancellation of census projects. Domestic and donor financing for census may be diverted to address COVID-19 leaving census without crucial funds. Several countries have already taken decisions to postpone the census, with many others yet to announce the way forward. In some countries this is already happening. The pandemic has also affected the planning and implementation of censuses of agriculture in all world's regions. The extent of the impact has varied according to the stages at which the censuses are, ranging from planning (i.e. staffing, procurement, preparation of frames, questionnaires), fieldwork (field training and enumeration) or data processing/analysis stages. The census of agriculture's reference period is the agricultural year. Thus, a delay in any census activity may be critical and can result in a full year postponement of the enumeration if the agricultural season is missed. Some publications have discussed the impact of COVID-19 on national censuses of agriculture.


Adaptation

UNFPA has requested a global effort to assure that even where census is delayed, census planning and preparations are not cancelled, but continue in order to assure that implementation can proceed safely when the pandemic is under control. While new census methods, including online, register-based, and hybrid approaches are being used across the world, these demand extensive planning and preconditions that cannot be created at short notice. The continuing low supply of
personal protective equipment Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, elect ...
to protect against COVID-19 has immediate implications for conducting census in communities at risk of transmission. UNFPA Procurement Office is partnering with other agencies to explore new supply chains and resources.


Modern implementation


See also

*
List of national and international statistical services The following is a list of national and international statistical services. Central national statistical services Nearly every country in the world has set a central public sector unit entirely devoted to the production, harmonisation and dissemina ...
* * * *


Sources


Notes


References

* Alterman, Hyman, (1969). ''Counting People: The Census in History''. Harcourt, Brace & Company. * Behrisch, Lars. (2016) "Statistics and Politics in the 18th Century." ''Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung'' (2016): 238–57. * Bielenstein, Hans, (1978). "Wang Mang, the restoration of the Han dynasty, and Later Han." In ''The Cambridge History of China'', vol. 1, eds. Denis Twitchett and John K. Fairbank, pp. 223–90, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Krüger, Stephen, (Fall 1991). "The Decennial Census"
19 ''Western State University Law Review'' 1
available a
HeinOnline
.
Effects of UK 'Jedi' hoax on 2001 UK census from ONS




*


External links

*
Census of Ireland 1911

Online Historical Population Reports Project (OHPR)

PR as a function of census management: comparative analysis of fifteen census experiences
{{Authority control Censuses Population Survey methodology Sampling (statistics) Latin words and phrases