The 23 September 2002, was the fourth local national population census. Unlike in 1992, this census was funded by the aid branch of the Australian Government, AusAID, under a memorandum of understanding with SPC in Noumea.The Nauru Bureau of Statistics undertakes the Population Census every five years.
The key objective of every census is to count every person (man, woman, child) resident in the country on census night, and also collect information on assorted demographic (sex, age, marital status, citizenship) and socio-economic (education/qualifications; labour force and economic activity) information, as well as data pertinent to household and housing characteristics. This count provides a complete picture of the population make-up in each village and town, of each island and region, thus allowing for an assessment of demographic change over time.
The need for a national census became obvious to the Census Office (Bureau of Statistics) during 1997 when a memo was submitted to government officials proposing the need for a national census in an attempt to update old socio-economic figures. The then Acting Director of the Bureau of Statistics and his predecessor shared a similar view: that the 'heydays' and 'prosperity' were nearing their end. This may not have been apparent, as it took until almost mid-2001 for the current Acting Government Statistician to receive instructions to prepare planning for a national census targeted for 2002. It has been repeatedly said that for adequate planning at the national level, information about the characteristics of the society is required. With such information, potential impacts can be forecast and policies can be designed for the improvement and benefit of society. Without it, the people, national planners and leaders will inevitably face uncertainties.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
Version 02: Edited data, not anonymised
The scope of the 2002 Population and Housing Census includes:
- Basic demographic characteristics of individuals in a particular household dwelling, including age, sex, ethnicity, religion, internal migration, educational attainment, economic activity and fertility;
- Basic household characteristics of the private dwellings, including tenure, sanitation, water and electricity, household wealth and household activities
The census covers all individuals living in private and non-private dwellings and institutions.
Producers and sponsors
Nauru Bureau of Statistics
Ministry of Finance
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Agency for International Development
Statistics for Development Programme
Dates of Data Collection
2 week enumeration period
Data Collection Mode
During enumeration, each enumerator kept track of enumerated households using their maps and household listing, or field control sheets. Each supervisor was provided with a control sheet identical to the field control sheets, and maps that he/she was required to check for consistency. Once they completed work in their respective EA, the enumerators were required to hand in all forms to their supervisor, who subsequently checked for completeness and quality of the information provided, returning any unsatisfactory form(s) to the enumerator for re-enumeration. All these operations were coordinated by the Acting Government Statistician, who visited each supervisor during the field operations. Once all forms had been quality-checked by the respective supervisors, they were submitted to the Census Office together with field control sheets and a summarised control sheet. The control sheets were collected and entered into a computer, and a provisional count of the population was made.
Data Collection Notes
Staffing and recruitment
The recruitment of external personnel was somewhat restricted due to time and financial constraints. To address this issue, the Census Office invited any staff from the public service who had past census experience to apply. Recruits were mainly from the public service and teachers. Overall, 15 supervisors and 60 enumerators were hired.
The area requiring the most staff resources was ‘Location’, which contained 103 housing blocks. Each block contained eight units or flats, with each of these enumerated as one household unless otherwise stated by the occupants. As well as these 103 blocks there were just under 20 ruins, bringing the total to over 600 habitable houses. The added problem of people speaking different languages housed randomly throughout Location meant recruiting enumerators who could speak various languages.
Mapping and listing operations
Mapping and listing were part of the preparations completed before the enumeration phase on 23 September. Two Census Office staff did preliminary household listings and mapping over a period of two weeks during early 2001, and then again during February 2002 due to a housing construction scheme that had been undertaken jointly by the Taiwan and Nauruan governments, and repatriation of housing formerly occupied by foreign workers. Mapping and listing operations proved very time-consuming in Location due to communication problems with the many different ethnic communities residing in the area. At the same time, the most recent maps (1992) were acquired from the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation (NRC) and updated.
The Office of Lands and Survey was the obvious first choice to provide maps. Unfortunately the size and scale of their maps made it impossible to create copies with existing copy machines on the island. This led to the second option of approaching NRC, who provided their most recent maps using some of the latest technology available. Throughout the census preparation and up until the day before enumeration, NRC provided the necessary expertise with census maps and production, incorporating rough locations of new houses.
Each district was divided into four or five enumeration areas (EAs), depending on the number of houses. Each enumerator was required to enumerate 10-14 houses. The recruitment of specific staff for Location meant further improvising because of the language barriers mentioned earlier, which required good and constant communication between each enumerator and his/her supervisor. Realising the challenges and time involved in maintaining such ongoing coordination and communication, it was decided to place a second supervisor in this area. The SPC demographer, Dr Chris McMurray, volunteered to assist in Location.
By enumeration day, all enumerators were provided with a map of their respective areas, with demarcations incorporating any changes they themselves had previously made. Each supervisor was provided with copies of the enumerator maps of the area they were supervising.
Preliminary household listings were completed during the preparation stages. These listings were compared to the maps for credibility. Updating at a later time meant only minor changes were necessary during the first visit by the enumerators on 22 September. On each occasion, it took census staff around two weeks to complete these tasks. The actual process of allocating EAs within districts, and then listing the respective household heads, was important to prevent double-counting - of which, incidentally, no cases were reported.
Publicity played an important role in the census operation. In order for any census to be successful, widespread publicity has to be achieved. The aim of every publicity campaign of this nature is twofold: to raise public awareness, and to educate. On an island as small as Nauru, such a campaign was organised with relative ease.
The Census Office decided to rely on three means of communication, which were also used for the 1992 census. The first was to publish a teachers' manual containing the most basic information about the census, its application and its importance to planners and governments. This manual was a modified version of the 1992 teachers' manual. The purpose was to incorporate census awareness into the school curriculum. The second means of communication was using radio and television to broadcast the message. The third was through the local medium known as the 'coconut wireless' or word of mouth, and depended entirely on the success of the former two and on census staff. Publicity was done during the training, with a crew from Nauru Television sent to cover two days of the training. On these two occasions selected participants of the census-training workshop were interviewed, and a prepared speech was given by the Acting Assistant Government Statistician describing the importance of the census and the benefits to the people in terms of future planning.
Unfortunately it was not possible to achieve the same scale of publicity enjoyed during the 1992 census. Although enumerators reported that none of the houses enumerated was ignorant that a census was being conducted, the fact remains that messages conveyed over the radio and television did not reach everybody as expected. It was found that households located in the northern part of the island did not receive radio or television transmission due to poor infrastructure. This situation contributed to some tension and hostilities during the enumeration phase, as well as disinterest and in some cases the temporary disappearance of entire listed households. Despite these obstacles, overall non-response was very low.
Training of census supervisors and enumerators was conducted jointly with the assistance of the former SPC demographer, Dr McMurray. The training took approximately two weeks (including listing and training of additional enumerator assistants) to ensure all aspects were adequately covered. The sessions comprised three days of lectures, one half-day of field testing the questionnaire, five days of listing and two extra days of training enumerator assistants due to late staff withdrawals. Sundays were days off. Due to the length of the questionnaire, the group was pressed to cover everything adequately.
The same training manual was provided for each recruit and the questions were addressed one by one, followed by thorough discussions of the topics covered. With everyone exposed to the same training, supervisors were selected for their demonstrated initiative and their general understanding of the questionnaire, as well as for previous census experience.
Census night was Monday 23 September 2002. The first stage of enumeration began the day before. This was known as the first visit, where enumerators visited each house within their allocated EA and listed every individual living within the house. The first visit also allowed enumerators to make changes to existing maps and household lists if required. Any changes to the maps were handed to NRC, who made the necessary alterations. The Census Office and the respective supervisor updated their own lists where necessary. During enumeration, each enumerator kept track of enumerated households using their maps and household listing, or field control sheets. Each supervisor was provided with a control sheet identical to the field control sheets, and maps that he/she was required to check for consistency. Once they completed work in their respective EA, the enumerators were required to hand in all forms to their supervisor, who subsequently checked for completeness and quality of the information provided, returning any unsatisfactory form(s) to the enumerator for re-enumeration. All these operations were coordinated by the Acting Government Statistician, who visited each supervisor during the field operations. Once all forms had been quality-checked by the respective supervisors, they were submitted to the Census Office together with field control sheets and a summarised control sheet. The control sheets were collected and entered into a computer, and a provisional count of the population was made.
Nauru Bureau of Statistics
Ministry of Finance
The questionnaire was based on the Pacific Islands Model Population and Housing Census Form and the 1992 census, and comprised two parts: a set of household questions, asked only of the head of household, and an individual questionnaire, administered to each household member. Unlike the previous census, which consisted of a separate household form plus two separate individual forms for Nauruans and non-Nauruans, the 2002 questionnaire consisted of only one form separated into different parts and sections.
The questionnaire cover recorded various identifiers: district name, enumeration area, house number, number of households (family units) residing, total number of residents, gender, and whether siblings of the head of the house were also recorded. The second page, representing a summary page, listed every individual residing within the house. This list was taken by the enumerator on the first visit, on the eve of census night. The first part of the census questionnaire focused on housing-related questions. It was administered only once in each household, with questions usually asked of the household head. The household form asked the same range of questions as those covered in the 1992 census, relating to type of housing, structure of outer walls, water supply sources and storage, toilet and cooking facilities, lighting, construction materials and subsistence-type activities. The second part of the census questionnaire focused on individual questions covering all household members. This section was based on the 1992 questions, with notable differences being the exclusion of income-level questions and the expansion of fertility and mortality questions. As in 1992, a problem emerged during questionnaire design regarding the question of who or what should determine a ‘Nauruan’. Unlike the 1992 census, where the emphasis was on blood ties, the issue of naturalisation and citizenship through the sale of passports seriously complicated matters in 2002. To resolve this issue, it was decided to apply two filtering processes: Stage 1 identified persons with tribal heritage through manual editing, and Stage 2 identified persons of Nauruan nationality and citizenship through designed skips in the questionnaire that were incorporated in the data-processing programming.
The topics of questions for each of the parts include:
- Person Particulars: - name - relationship - sex - ethnicity - religion - educational attainment
- Economic Activity (to all persons 15 years and above): - economic activity - economic inactive - employment status
- Fertility: - Fertility - Mortality
- Labour Force Activity: - production of cash crops - fishing - own account businesses - handicrafts.
- Disability: - type of disability - nature of disability
- Household and housing: - electricity - water - tenure - lighting - cooking - sanitation - wealth ownerships
Coding, data entry and editing
Coding took longer than expected when the Census Office found that more quality-control checks were required before coding could take place and that a large number of forms still required attention. While these quality-control checks were supposed to have been done by the supervisors in the field, the Census Office decided to review all census forms before commencing the coding. This process took approximately three months, before actual data processing could begin.
The amount of additional time required to recheck the quality of every census form meant that data processing fell behind schedule. The Census Office had to improvise, with a little pressure from external stakeholders, and coding, in conjunction with data entry, began after recruiting two additional data entry personnel. All four Census Office staff became actively involved with coding, with one staff member alternating between coding and data entry, depending on which process was dropping behind schedule. In the end, the whole process took almost two months to complete.
Prior to commencing data entry, the Census Office had to familiarise itself with the data entry processing system. For this purpose, SPC's Demography/Population Programme was invited to lend assistance. Two office staff were appointed to work with Mr Arthur Jorari, SPC Population Specialist, who began by revising their skills for the data processing software that had been introduced by Dr McMurray. This training attachment took two weeks to complete. Data entry was undertaken using the 2 .3 version of the US Census Bureau's census and surveying processing software, or CSPro2.3. This version was later updated to CSPro2.4, and all data were transferred accordingly.
Technical assistance for data editing was provided by Mr Jorari over a two-week period. While most edits were completed during this period, it was discovered that some batches of questionnaires had not been entered during the initial data capturing. Therefore, batch-edit application had to be regenerated. This process was frequently interrupted by power outages prevailing at the time, which delayed data processing considerably and also required much longer periods of technical support to the two Nauru data processing staff via phone or email (when available).
The advantage of using CSPro was that the same package used for data entry and edits could also be used for producing different types of tabulations, including complex cross-tabulations, and that former problems associated with using separate software packages to perform different tasks were eliminated. Tables were created using CSPro2.4 during a short-term professional attachment by the Acting Statistician.
Data was compared with Administrative records after the Census to review the quality and reliability of the data.
All information with regards to a respondent or individual are kept confidential under the Census and Statistical Act.
All information are coded in such a manner that no household or individual would be easily identified.
All users of the data will have to sign an agreement or undertaking that:
1. Refrain from making copies or reproduce the data he or she is granted with.
2. Refrain from attempting to identify any person or household from the data he or she is granted with.
3. Refrain from revealing the identification of any individual or household in the data he or she is granted with.
The Data is made available under the following conditions:
1. The data will be specifically used for statistical and scientific research purpose ONLY.
2. The data is not sold or re-distributed to any other individual, institution or organisation.
3. Adhereing to the confidentiality clause in the Act as well as the Agreement.
4. The source has to be acknowledged in all modes of presentation, books, articles, papers, theses, reports or any other publication.
5. A copy of all reports, publications and presentations are to be forwarded to the owner of the data.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Nauru Bureau of Statistics. Nauru Population and Housing Census 2002. Ref. NRU_2002_PHC_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [source] on [date].