Timor-Leste Prepares for the 2015 Population Census

On the 8th of June 2015, the General Directorate of Statistics (GDS), in association with the Government of Timor-Leste and the Ministry of Finance, with support from UNFPA and UN Women, launched the National Census of Population and Housing Timor-Leste Campaign at Government Palace, Dili. The campaign aims to distribute information concerning the Nation’s third census since the restoration of independence in 2002, which is due to begin on the 11th of July 2015.

Prime Minister Dr Rui Maria de Araujo supported this notion, stating that, “Planning for the good of our population cannot be done if we do not have a precise idea of the characteristics of our population. That is why today I am here to urge all of you to be part of our Census 2015!”

During the weeks following the 11th of July, enumerators will disperse themselves across Timor-Leste’s 13 districts to approach each individual household with the Population Census Questionnaires.  The questions asked will be directed to the head of the household regarding everyone who spent the night of the 11th of July in their residence.

Highlighting the importance of answering the enumerator’s queries, His Excellency Prime Minister Araujo explained, “Participating in the census is essential, it is everybody’s civic duty, and it is very simple: all of you throughout the country will be visited by an official census enumerator between the 11th and the 25th July 2015. These enumerators have been trained to collect data in each household and are all ruled by secrecy. Enumerators will come to your household to ask you important questions that you need to truthfully answer: do not forget, your answer counts and shapes the future policies and programmes of our country.”

The aim of the census is to collect information on Timor-Leste and the demographic, social and economic characteristics of the population.  This information is then used to monitor and formulate national policies, their planning, and their implementation, making it vital that all citizens are included.

Director General of GDS, Antonio Freitas, urged all residents of Timor-Leste to take note of who is in their household on the night of the 11th of July and their personal details, and to take an attitude of cooperation with enumerators. “From the 11th to 25th July 2015, be ready.  Open your doors to the enumerator, be counted and be proud to be in a country which bases its planning on true and accurate data to reinforce our democracy!”

UNFPA and UN Women have contributed to the efforts of GDS, the Ministry of Finance, and the Government of Timor-Leste to organise the census and its publicity. UNFPA has been associated with the past two censuses of 2004 and 2010 in Timor Leste and, for the 2015 Census, is mainly providing technical support and publicity support. UN Women has contributed to this year’s census by providing assistance with publicity, and the training of enumerators and messengers to ensure that information on all citizens and residents of Timor-Leste, including women and girls, is provided and recorded with accuracy.

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