The Importance Of Statistics

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Come Sunday, May 2, more than 700 trained enumerators will traverse districts across Barbados, collecting data for the Barbados Statistical Services’ (BSS) 2010 Population and Housing Census.

The exercise which is slated to run over a six week period, is designed to assess changes to the Barbadian population and housing landscapes since 2000, when the last Census was carried out by the BSS.

During the official launch at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently, Director of the BSS, Angela Hunte, underscored the importance of the investigation and described it as "the largest and most complex exercise carried out by a national statistical office".

She further stated: "From the Census, a snapshot of the population will be made available to users that would not only contain information about age and sex distribution, but also, valuable information on the social and economic characteristics of the people of Barbados."

Mrs. Hunte emphasised that data collected from households across Barbados would remain confidential and implored Barbadians to cooperate with the enumerators when they visited the respective districts.

"The Census provides information on what our country needs to know in order to develop policies and programmes for the common good of Barbadians. The Census involves us all so, we are counting on each person who resides in Barbados, to do his or her part, in making the 2010 Population and Housing Census, a success," she remarked.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Carson Browne, intimated that the provision of timely statistics was crucial to planning, policy making, economic and social development.

He opined: "These statistics are essential for developing sound policies and programmes aimed at improving the welfare of our country and our population.?? Accurate information is a critical element to our progress, development and success, especially with the challenges as a result of the economic crisis."

Mr. Browne reiterated that the information on the island’s population and housing stock would not only be used for forecasting, but as a reference point for corporate Barbados, academia, civil society and individuals.

In supporting the Census the Permanent Secretary added: "The Census makes available bench mark data on the social, economic and demographic status of the country.?? It also provides for the analysis of a wide range of characteristics of the total population.?? Moreover, updated information would be made available on the housing conditions of our people, the number of persons with disabilities, migration, education, training and economic activities of our residents, including their involvement in agriculture."

Apart from Barbados, Mr. Browne disclosed that other CARICOM countries as well as other nations worldwide, would also be conducting censuses in their respective countries. He explained this was in keeping with a recommendation from the United Nations, that all countries produce detailed population and housing statistics, at least once in the period 2005 to 2014.

Mr. Browne noted that assessing human capital was an important component of modern governments. "Good quality census data provide an excellent picture of the state of the country and a profile of its people.?? Therefore, I wish to encourage you to give accurate answers to all questions when the enumerators visit your home. It is only through your willing participation that the necessary and relevant information will be obtained."

Meanwhile, Census Coordinator, Trevor David, outlined the purpose of the census and how it would be utilised.

He said apart from assessing the economic well-being of Barbadians, it would also be used to identify new markets, and to assess the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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