Measuring the Economically Active in Population Censuses

A Handbook

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The Handbook provides guidance on the measurement of economic characteristics in population censuses, based on relevant experiences of countries, with a particular focus on the questions used and the requirements for processing of responses. The Handbook is intended to provide census planners with a variety of approaches to assess the questions and methods of collecting economic characteristics used in their national census, as they evaluate the performance in the past decade and plan for the 2010 round of censuses (2005-2014). Users of census results may also find the present text useful when evaluating the quality of census results.

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The census as a basis for evaluating survey data

Another potential use of census data is to serve as a benchmark for the evaluation of results from post-censal sample surveys. Owing to differences of timing, content, methodology, practical conditions of data collection and so on, the comparability between the two types of sources are limited, and hence a past census cannot fully serve as a benchmark for more current sample surveys. If different classifications and definitions of concepts are used, then comparability of information between censuses and surveys and the capacity to use census data to evaluate survey data will be limited. Nevertheless, the population census can be useful in a number of ways for the above purpose. The questions to be addressed are whether and to what extent data on economic characteristics and activity of the population from the labour force and other sample surveys can be evaluated on the basis of information from the population census and projections. It is useful to distinguish between content and coverage aspects of the evaluation.

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