China starts world`s biggest census exercise

China, the most populous country, today launched the world`s biggest census exercise to update the decade-old population data.

Beijing: China, the most populous country,
today launched the world`s biggest census exercise to update the decade-old population data.

About 6.5 million workers will fan out to the nooks
and corners of the country to visit over 400 million
households, including that of foreigners, in the next ten
days.

In order to have more accurate figures, another round
of census exercise will be launched from November 11 to 30,
though on the smaller scale of 1/10000 of the population,
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) officials said.

Statistics will be calculated in December, with the
key data scheduled to be released by the end of April 2011,
they said.

The census were expected to reveal an accurate data
about the age profile of the Chinese as China which has been
strictly implementing one child policy is grappling with
rapidly ageing population, putting heavy strain on pension
funds.

Anyone born before today gets included, and anyone
born after gets left out until the next exercise which was
expected to be taken in 2020, according to the NBS.

About 90 per cent of the people will be asked to fill
in an 18-item form, covering their name, sex, ethnic group,
household registration, and education; the other 10 per cent,
chosen randomly, will be asked to fill in a longer 45-question
form.

Foreigners, who for the first time being included,
have to answer ten questions.

The exercise was expected to cost around USD 103
million (700 million yuan).

China holds its national census every 10 years. The
previous one, in 2000, showed that the world`s most populous
country had 1.29 billion people.
If the previous household visits are anything to go
by, the census takers will not have an easy job, because many
people worry about their privacy, not to mention the rapidly
swelling migrant population in major cities, state run `China
Daily` said.

Many census takers previously found that people simply
refused to open their doors to them.

Also, people who have more than one child would not
like to declare their second child fearing punishment.
According to Tan Bihua, one census taker in the
southern city of Guangzhou, where the census started on
October 25 - ahead of the nationwide effort because of the
16th Asian Games - each person is responsible for about 120 to
150 households and the greatest difficulty is that they often
cannot even find the people.

PTI

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