The Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB) announced yesterday that it will commence preparations for the 2015 nationwide population census from this month onwards, with accurate population data critical to future development efforts.
The announcement was made in Vientiane by LSB officials, who noted that up-to-date statistics and information is imperative for social and economic development, assessing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation and integration with the Asean Economic Community.
A nationwide survey has typically been undertaken every ten years and next year’s census will be the fourth time that the LSB has undertaken the task. The survey will take place over the period from March 1-7, 2015.
For next year’s survey, foreigners who have lived in Laos for more than six months will be added into the statics. Local residents who are currently living, working or studying overseas will also be included.
During the census, people will be interviewed in regards to their profession, marital status, income, housing conditions, access to electricity or whether or not they receive media broadcasts, along with other circumstances.
The survey will collect information from civilians, military, police, foreigners, itinerant labourers, high ranking officials and even people who are facing criminal charges and prisoners.
Deputy Director General of the Department of Social Statistics, Ms Thirakha Chanthalanouvong said about 22,000 people will be trained by the department and enlisted in the data collection effort.
Most of the information collectors will be teachers since they can be found in most communities and have a good knowledge of the local population. One person will be assigned to interview around 70 households, department officials said.
The department has asked both local and foreign people to cooperate with officials so that they can provide more effective information about the Lao population and its development.
Head of the LSB Dr Samaychanh Boupha said the survey was very important for Laos and will provide valuable information and insights into the current situation in the country.
“If we want to know about the development of the country, we have to know our population,” he said.
The department has estimated that it will cost in the vicinity of US$7.2 million to undertake the nationwide census.
In the past, the collection of census data relied largely on foreign supporters but this time the majority of the money will come from the government budget.
Ms Thirakha said they had already sought funds from various international organisations and some of them have agreed to help. Currently, some private sector professionals have also expressed interest in extending support to the effort.
Officially, the Lao population is currently estimated at 6.4 million people but given that the last census was undertaken back in 2005 accurate figures will only be known after the results of the census are made public.
The official findings of the survey will be declared by 2016, Ms Thirakha said.
Source: Vientiane Times