As the national census exercise winds up tomorrow, every Ugandan should ensure they are counted.
Before the exercise commenced, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) carried out awareness campaigns about the census.
In spite of a few challenges such as negative perception or beliefs by some cults and communities about being counted; heavy rains which, at times, disrupted the exercise; failure to reach ‘floating people’ such as street children; enumerators failing to find some people in their homes, etc., the exercise has largely been smooth.
Of course, some people have not been counted because it is difficult for the enumerators to reach each and every home in all parts of the country. But this being an important exercise, tomorrow is your last opportunity to be counted. The UBOS executive director, Mr Paul Mungyereza, has assured Ugandans that they could call up any enumerator within their reach to come and count them.
Participating in the national census is a duty and obligation of every citizen who is keen on improved social service delivery. The government cannot plan effectively for Ugandans without an up-to-date record of the population.
Uganda last carried out a census in 2002.
The current exercise should have been carried out in 2012 but it was postponed due to lack of money. Since then, the government has been relying on estimates; that is why there are conflicting figures of the actual population of Uganda.
For instance, the United Nations Social and Economic Affairs Division puts the population at 37.5 million as of 2012, while the State of Uganda Population report 2013 says the country’s population has grown from 16 million in 1991, to 33 million people. The United Nations Population Fund places our population at 34.5 million as of 2011.
The census is crucial because it captures population characteristics such as citizenship, age, residence, housing conditions, deaths and livelihood, education status, migration, health status, agriculture status of families, and fertility rate to enable government plan well. This information can only be processed if every Ugandan is counted.
Census also enables government to get data regarding the economy and social demographics – the number of people in the country, age structure, distribution of people in terms of sex, education status, which will inform planning for service delivery.
In future, the national census planning and coordinating authorities should consider counting people at places of work. People cannot wait for enumerators at home when they are expected at their work places.