Monday, April 25, 2011

Czech Census

Governments in most of Europe are taking a census this year. In the USA, the census is given out to only a sample of the population. However, everyone (including foreigners) had to complete the census in the ČR. I guess you can do that when there are only 10 million people.

Census officers from the Czech Statistical Office (Český Statistický Úřad, ČSÚ) had to visit every household in the country and drop off the appropriate questionnaires from 7 - 25 March. The commissioner who came to my flat spoke enough German for me to understand what I needed to do.

There are three different possible forms.
The green form is for individuals and everyone has to complete this one. It asks for basic information such as marital status, type of employment, nationality, religious affiliation, primary language, level of education and mode of transport. Since the ČR is part of the EU, there is an option under marital status for same sex registered partnerships. It's a shame that this isn't recognized in the USA.

The yellow form is for the dwelling. I had to answer questions about my flat. What floor it is on, the type of heating, how many rooms, the square meter measurements of each room, how many people live here, etc. It also wanted to know if I had an inside or outside restroom and access to the Internet.

The orange form is for the building caretaker so I didn't have to complete this form. It has questions about the type of building, its age, the materials used, sewage connections, etc.

Each form I was given had an on-line access code which allowed me to submit my forms online. All forms had to be submitted in Czech. The government had a website with instructions available in English, French, German, Polish, Romany, Russian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. The online forms were only used as a reference and didn't give side-by-side translations. For example, on the English form under religion they listed Roman Catholic as an option. But that didn't tell me what "Roman Catholic" is in Czech so when I filled in the Czech form I had to figure out that is is "Církev římskokatolická".

The due date to submit one's census was 14 April. There is a 10,000 Kč (~$610) fine for not submitting one's census forms so I made sure to complete them online before I went on vacation to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Regular population censuses were introduced during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1753, Empress Maria Theresa ordered a regular count of the population according to sex, age and marital status.

EDIT: As of 2 May, the government received 16.8 million census forms. The majority of forms were mailed in (61.5%). Only 25.7% were submitted electronically and 12.8% were collected in person.

EDIT: Here are the preliminary results.

1 comment:

  1. Uh... In the United States *everybody* is supposed to fill out the Census (by definition a census is a survey of everybody; the US Supreme Court has ruled on the subject), and the Census does the best it can.

    The sample aspect is that only a sample of the population gets the long form which asks lots of additional questions.