The National Census of Population and Housing is a deccenial acctivity carried out on a 10 yearly basis. The 2009 Population and Housing Census was contacted after the 1999 Census. The Reference Date of the 2009 Population and Housing Census was 16th November 2009 and the enumeration lasted for a period of 2 weeks.
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.
With Vanuatu, as many of her Pacific island neighbours increasingly embracing a culture of informed, or evidence-based policy development and decision-making, national census databases, and the possibility to extract complex cross-tabulations as well as a host of important sub-regional and small-area relevant information, are essential to feed a growing demand for data and information in both public and private sectors.
Educational, health and manpower planning, for example, including assessments of future demands for staffing, facilities, and programmed budgets, would not be possible without periodic censuses, and Government efforts to monitor development progress, such as in the context of its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitments, would also suffer greatly, if not be outright impossible, without reliable data provided by regular national population counts and updates.
While regular national-level surveys, such as Household Income and Expenditure Surveys, Labour force surveys, agriculture surveys and demographic and health surveys - to name but just a few - provide important data and information across specific sectors, these surveys could not be sustained or managed without a national sampling frame (which a census data provides). And the calculation and measurement of all population-based development indicators, such as most MDG indicators, would not be possible without up-to-date population statistics, which usually come from a census or from projections and estimates that are based on census data.
With most of this information now already 9 years old (and thus quite outdated), and in the absence of reliable population-register type databases, such as those provided from well-functional civil registration (births and deaths) and migration-recording systems, the 2009 Vanuatu census of population and housing, will provide much needed demographic, social and economic statistics that are essential for policy development, national development planning, and the regular monitoring of development progress.
Apart from achieving its general aims and objectives in delivering updated population, social and economic statistics, the 2009 census also represented a major national capacity building exercise, with most Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) staff who were involved with the census, having no prior census experience. Having been carefully planned and resourced, all 2009 census activities have potentially provided very useful (and desired) on-the-job-training for VNSO staff, right across the spectrum of professional rank and responsibilities. It also provided for short-term overseas training and professional attachments (at SPC or ABS, or elsewhere) for a limited number of professional staff, who subsequently mentored other staff in the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO).
With some key senior VNSO members involved with the 1999 census, they provided a wealth of experience that was available in-house and not to mention the ongoing surveys such HIES and Agriculture Census that the office has conducted before the census proper. The VNSO has also professional officers who have qualified in the fields of Population and Demography who had manned the project, and with this type of resources, we managed to conduct yet another successful project of the 2009 census.
While some short-term census advisory missions were fielded from SPC Demography/ Population programme staff, standard SPC technical assistance policy arrangements could not cater for long-term, or repeated in-country assignments. However, other relevant donors were invited for the longer-term attachments of TA expertise to the VNSO.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The Unit Analysis of the 2009 Population and Housing Census included:
- Person (Population)
V2: Scanned & Edited data, final version for tabulation and reports.
The scope of the Census includes:
Household: Household characteristics, water and sanitation, insecticide treated mosquito nets as well as farming activities of the household in terms of livestock, paultry, cash crop farming etc
- Persons 15 Years and Over
- Persons 5 Years to 15 Years
- Persons less than 5 Years
- Fertility Questions
The 2009 Population and Housing Census Geographical Coverage included:
- National (Vanuatu)
- Provinces (Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa, tafea)
- Inhabited Islands (From Hiu, Torres Islands to Aneityum, Southern Islands)
- Ennumeration Areas (EA assigned to each enumerator)
- Villages / Towns
- Household or Dwelling
The census covered all households and individuals throguhout Vanuatu
Producers and sponsors
Vanuatu National Statstics Office
Statistics and Demography Program
Secretariat of the Pacific Coimmunity (SPC)
Technical assistace in pre-census preparation (Planning and budgetting), catography, Data Processing, Data Analysis and Census Mentoring
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The 2009 Census ennumerators were short term recruited casuals who have successfully qualified based on the following certain:
- Participants were selected basically from the list of applicants, and also those who have already engaged in enumerations from past surveys and censuses conducted by VNSO.
- Another criterion is the place of residence as a way of selection. Enumerators enumerating on Motalava Island were ensured to have reside on the island.
- All enumerators and supervisors were ensured to have completed at least year 10 (or Junior secondary) education.
The supervisors were selected by trainers towards the end of training and basically this is someone who displayed broad knowledge of the concepts and experiences covered during the training. After they were identified, they were briefed with their roles using the Supervisors manual. In this census, the supervisors were those who have supervised in the past or those who have displayed some supervisory qualities during the enumerator training.
Data Collection Notes
The Data Collection for the Vanuatu 2009 Population and Housing Census was carried out in the following phases:
1. The Pre-test (Pilot Test) of the Census was carried out in March 2009 to test the questionaire and also to test the new processing tools namely the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system
2. There two sets of training in preparation of the enumerators for the field operatin. The two trainings are:
a. 2 weeks Train the Trainers of the Zone Curriculum Advisor (ZCA). The are governmnet teachers who will during the census act as Area Managers to oversee the performances of the Supervisors
b. 2. weeks training of the Enumerators and the Supervisors (Training was jointly conducted by VNSO and the ZCA)
3. The actual enumeration was carried out for a period of 2 weeks however, there were cases where the works were not complted within 2 weeks hence extra time was given to complete.
All the data collected were in the method of a FACE to FACE interview with the Head of the Household by the Enumerators.
Vanuatu National Statistics Office
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
The questionnaire basically has 5 sections; the geographical identifiers, the general population questions and education, labour force questions, the women and fertility questions and the housing questions.The geographical identifiers include the Village name, GPS code, EA number, household number and the Enumerator ID.The Person questions contain the person demographics including the education level and labour force status. A section on fertility for women in the reproductive age is also included. All have been guided by 'skip patterns' to guide the flow of questions asked.Household questions contained the basic description of the house materials, tenure, access to water and sanitation, energy, durables, use of treated mosquito nest and internet access.
In the Census proper, the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system (ReadSoft Application System) was used to capture information from the completed forms. The captured data were then exported to MS Access database system for further editing and cleaning before the final data is transferred to CSPro for more editing and quality checks before the data was finalised. All system files and data files were stored in the server under 2009PopCensus folder. Three temporary data operators were hired to do the job, under the supervision of Rara Soro, the system analyst for VNSO. No data was stored in work stations, because all data were directly written to the DATA folder in the server.
Range checks and basic checks (online edits) were built in the manual data entry system, while the complex edits were written in a separate batch edit program. If the system encounter and error during data entry, an error message will be displayed and the data operator cannot proceed unless the error displayed is fixed. e.g Males + Females = Total Persons. Please re-enter. It was strongly recommended to the data operators not to make up answers but consult the supervisor if he/she cannot fix it. Listed below are the checks that were built into the data entry system.
01 Person 1 must be the head of household
02 Sex against relationship
03 Age against date of birth
04 Marital status - Married people should be age 15+
05 Spouse should be married
06 P9, P10, P11 against village enumerated
07 Never been to school but can use internet - Is this possible
08 Check for multiple head or spouse in the household
09 Husband and wife of same sex
10 Total persons match total people in personal form
11 Total children born and live in household (F2a) against total persons total
12 Age difference of head and child is less than 13
13 Total children born (F4) against total alive(F2) + total died(F3)
A separate batch edit program was developed for further data cleaning. All online edits were also re-written in this program to make sure that all errors flagged out during data entry were fixed. Some of the errors detected are not really errors, but still requires double checking, and if the answer recorded is the correct answer, don't change it. The batch edit was performed on each batch, and also on the concatenated batch. Below is the summary list of errors generated from manual data entry data before batch editing.
MDE Error message summary
Age does not match date of birth 272
Total children born and living in household (F2a) > total in 1
Attend school full-time in P12 but also working 16
Too young for highest education recorded 14
Highest education completed does not match with grade currently attending 80
Age had the highest errors rate, and this is due to an error in the logic statement, otherwise all ages that do not match their date of birth are corrected during data entry.
The Data capturing (Scanning) and Editing process took about 6 months to be completed but then more checks were made after that to finalise the dataset before publishing the results.
During re-coding of zero's and blanks, a couple of batch edit statement written in the batch edit program were wrong, and it created errors in the scanned data. The batch edit was suppose to recode only those people that didn't answer questions P19, P23 - P25, but instead it recoded valid codes as well to blanks. This was only picked up when tables were generated and numbers were found to be so much different in manual data entry and scanned data. Another batch edit program was developed to recode and fix this problem.
Household characteristics and basic demographic variables for the census data was used in comparision with the 1999 census data to determine the accuracy of the pilot data. Some of the key indicators used for comparision are the household size, sex ratio, educational attainment, employment status. A pyramid was also used for the comparisions.
Each person involved in the census data collection or data capturing and statistical dissemination and usage is required to abide to the Statistics Act of 1974 Cap 83 Chapter 71 which states:
"…having position of any information which to his knowledge has been disclosed in contravention of this Act, publishes or communicates that information to any other person, shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Vt50, 000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Each dataset can be used in any way the users see necessary. The recommended access condition includes:
- Public use of produced reports from:
- Printed hard copy reports
- Internet wesbite
- Requesting directly from the office
- Other Ussages where raw dataset is needed to be moved out from the office would require signed agreements between VNSO and the party requesting the data.
Vanuatu National Statistics Office, Population and Housing Census 2009 (CENSUS 2009), Version 1 of the public use dataset, provided by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office website. www.vnso.gov.vu
VNSO Government Statistician
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the Vanuatu National Statistics Office being the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
(c) 2009, Vanuatu National Statistics Office
DDI Document ID
Vanuatu National Statistics Office
Data producer and documentation of the study
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (July 2012) - Adapted version of the DDI "DDI-VUT-VNSO-CENSUS-2009-v2" documented by Vanuatu National Statistics Offce on July 9, 2012.