2024 census to be conducted digitally, says Ubos

President Museveni greets government officials and other dignitaries at the launch of the national census at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala on December 12, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The digitally conducted census is expected to shorten the time of releasing the final data, expected in December 2024.  

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) yesterday said next year’s National Population and Housing Census will be conducted digitally, a move aimed at minimising errors associated with paper-based data entries in previous exercises.

The digitally conducted census is also expected to shorten the time of releasing the final data, expected in December 2024.    

Speaking at the launch at Kololo ceremonial grounds, the Executive Director of Ubos, Dr Chris Mukiza, said: “This is going to be the first digital census and the 11th Uganda census, the sixth post-independence census and third census done by Uganda Bureau of Statistics.”

Dr Mukiza said preliminary results of the census will be out in June 2024, provisional results will be released in September 2024 and the final results in December 2024 unlike in the past when the final results could take two to three years.

He also said this is the first time the government is funding 98 percent of national census, with Shs320.9 billion. 

“This is the first time the government is providing a large share of funding, so we are becoming self-sufficient unlike in 2014 when the government provided 75 percent,” he said.

Census period
He said the enumeration period will be starting on May 10 to May 20, 2024, and requested that the Ministry of Education and Sports closes schools during this period so that learners can get counted. 

President Museveni, who officially launched the census, urged Ubos and other policy makers involved in the exercise to use language understandable to the citizens. He also clarified that the census is the night of May 9, 2024, and not the night of May 9, and 10 as the statistics body had put it.

“Stop being other people; be yourself, the Europeans live in a maze,” he said.

The President urged the general public to stay at home on May 10, which has since been declared a public holiday to enable the enumerators count them. 

“We count people so that the government can plan for you better, when these figures come in, they will help us to plan. The purpose of counting is planning,” he added.

Further, Mr Museveni said he is happy with the current population growth rate, adding that Africa used to be 12 times below the population of India but it has just overtaken the latter.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Susan Ngongi Namondo, in her remarks read by Ms Gift Malunga, the UNFPA country representative, said globally, every 10 years, the UN announces a round of censuses during which each country is expected to conduct a complete enumeration of its population. 
Ms Ngongi said the current round, which started in 2015, ends in 2024.

“Your Excellency, it is only with adequate, timely and accurate data that we can be able to tell our development story and formulate policies that respond to the current and future development challenges, threats and opportunities,” she said. 

Ms Ngongi said Uganda has a youthful, energetic and fairly educated population that is facing a myriad of challenges, but also with the potential to exploit the many opportunities in their communities and elsewhere. 

“To make informed investments in this young demographic, we require accurate and timely information about their demographics, locations, and activities,” she said.
She said this vital data can be obtained from a national census.

Ms Malunga said with the digital census, Uganda joins a growing trend across Africa and globally in leveraging modern technology to generate data and evidence.

UN commitment
“As part of our commitment, 12 UN agencies operating in Uganda have collaborated with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics to develop a three-year $42 million (about Shs160 billion) joint programme for data and statistics that will be launched next month,” she said.

Speaking at the same launch, State Minister for Planning Amos Lugoloobi said the 2024 census will inform policy formulation and planning.

“The census data is useful in determining how to appropriately allocate scare resources, informs policy formulation and the findings of a census help policy makers to measure how good policy decisions are, how sensible they are and the duration for which those decisions can be trusted,” he said.  

The chairperson of Ubos, Dr Albert Byamugisha, said the census will lead to the creation of jobs.
“A total of 120,000 youth and other Ugandans will be employed directly and indirectly during the census exercise. The private sector will benefit directly from the exercise,” he said.