Tanzania has launched a nationwide week-long population and housing census that will delve deeper than in the past to identify bona fide citizens, immigrants, refugees, foreign residents and passing visitors along with employment statuses and other livelihood engagements.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who designated Tuesday as a public holiday for the exercise, was the first to be enumerated at the Chamwino State House in the capital Dodoma.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is asking a raft of questions, about 100, related to age, gender, birthplace, residential status (ownership and tenancy), education, employment and financial inclusion status. It is also collecting details on marital status, reproductive health and technology use.
“I have been counted. It is true that the questions are more, but they can be answered,” President Suluhu told journalists at State House, where she urged citizens to familiarise themselves with the questions and have the necessary documents such as the national identity cards beforehand so they can answer quickly.
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The census commissar Anne Makinda said the exercise would run for seven days.
This year’s census is the first to be done digitally and will cost Tsh328 billion ($141 million). The census will also include housing and property statistics for the first time.
According to the concept documents, the findings will allow relevant authorities to streamline the provision of various social services and facilities according to more accurate estimations of different community, demographical and living environment needs.
Officials say the census findings will also be used to determine unemployment numbers, crime control requirements by area, and the sustainability of existing social security and pension systems.
Tanzania is estimated to have a population of between 55 and 65 million. In 2012, Tanzania reported 44.9 million people.
UN predictions have placed Tanzania’s population among the world’s eight fastest-growing countries over the next three decades.