Census taking in Mauritius dates back to the 18th Century. The first complete census for the Island of Mauritius, then known as Isle de France, was taken in 1735 under the governorship of Mahé de Labourdonnais. Since then, numerous complete censuses or partial counts of the population have been made. However, the first census report to be printed was probably that of 1846. The 1846 census was followed by another one in 1851. Since then, and up to 1931, censuses have been taken every ten years. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the one due in 1941 had to be postponed to 1944. The first census after the War was taken in 1952, and the ten-yearly programme was subsequently resumed with a census taken in 1962 and another one in 1972. The one scheduled for 1982 was postponed to 1983 because of the 1982 parliamentary elections. The following census which was due in 1993 was advanced to 1990 to satisfy an urgent need for up-to-date data, particularly on the economic characteristics of the population. Census 2000 was the seventeenth for the Island of Mauritius and the seventh for the Island of Rodrigues. The next round of the census will thus be the eighteenth for the Island of Mauritius and the eighth for that of Island of Rodrigues.
The 2011 Mauritius Housing & Population Census will be carried out by the Central Statistics Office in two distinct rounds: the Housing Census from 31 January 2011 to June 2011 followed by the Population Census from 20 June to 31 July 2011 in respect of all persons alive on the night of 3 - 4 July 2011. The main objective of the Housing and Population census is to provide up-to-date and disaggregated data on the housing conditions, the spatial distribution, and the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the Mauritian population.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
(i) Location of building
(ii) Type of building
(iii) Characteristics of building
(iv) Characteristics of housing units
(v) Availability of amenities in housing units
(vi) Availability and type of fruit trees
(vii) Type of household
(viii) Characteristics of household
(ix) Availability of durable goods and ICT facilities
(x) Characteristics of fields for households engaged in land cultivation
(xi) Characteristics of commercial/industrial establishments
(i) Demographic and social characteristics
(ii) Geographical and migration characteristics
(iii) Education and training
(iv) Economic characteristics
The Housing Census will enumerate all buildings, housing units, households, commercial and industrial establishments, hotels and boarding houses as well as fruit trees of bearing age on residential premises.
The Population Census will enumerate all persons present on census night in all households and communal establishments, as well as usual residents who are away on census night.
Housing and population enumerations will be conducted in the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega.
Producers and sponsors
Census 2011, like the four previous ones, was taken in two distinct rounds: the Housing Census followed by the Population Census four months later. This enumeration procedure was adopted in order to obtain at the Housing Census a list of names and addresses of heads of households which served as frame for the Population Census.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The Chief Supervisor was responsible for the whole field operation and was assisted by three Assistant Chief Supervisors. These officers were appointed for a period of nine months as from January 2011.
The work of a Chief Supervisor required a total of about 525 hours, spread over a period of nine months from January 2011 to September of the same year. The Chief Supervisor received a fee of Rs 16,500 and travelling allowance of Rs 6,500 per month for the ninemonth period of appointment.
Assistant Chief Supervisor:
The Assistant Chief Supervisors were required to assist the Chief Supervisor in the performance of her duties and to keep records of field checks carried out. The work of an Assistant Chief Supervisors required a total of about 475 hours, spread over a period of nine months from January September 2011. The Assistant Chief Supervisor received a fee of Rs 15,000 and travelling allowance of Rs 6,000 for the ninemonth period.
Twenty one Senior Supervisors were appointed for a period of nine months as from January 2011. The Senior Supervisors worked under the supervision of the Chief and Assistant Chief Supervisors and each Senior Supervisor had the charge of about eight Supervisors and 60 Chief Enumerators for the Housing Census and an additional 300 Enumerators for the Population Census.
The duties of a Senior Supervisor required some 505 hours of work, spread over a period of nine months from January to September 2011. The Senior Supervisor was remunerated at the rate varying from Rs13,500 to Rs14,500 per month and a monthly travelling allowance varying from Rs5,500 to Rs5,000, depending on the spread of allocated regions.
One hundred and seventy one Supervisors were appointed for a period of eight months as from January 2011. On the average, a Supervisor had to supervise the work of seven Chief Enumerators and 40-50 Enumerators.
These duties required some 400 hours of work, spread over a period of eight months from January to August 2011. The Supervisor was remunerated at the rate varying from Rs 9,500 to Rs 12,000 per month and a monthly travelling allowance varying from Rs3,600 to Rs4,500, depending on the spread of regions allocated to him/her.
Data Collection Notes
The field force
A total of about 7,206 field officers were recruited on a part-time basis for the census field operation. The number of officers recruited by grade was:
(i) one Chief Supervisor,
(ii) three Assistant Chief Supervisors,
(iii) 21 Senior Supervisors,
(iv) 171 Supervisors,
(v) 1,151 Chief Enumerators,
(vi) An additional of 5,859 Enumerators were needed for the Population Census enumeration; however, only 5,706 Enumerators were recruited given that, in some regions, the number of applicants did not meet the number of officers needed. To ensure timely completion of the Population Census enumeration 47 Enumerators were called to carry out an additional workload and 106 Chief Enumerators to work as Enumerator as well.
Fieldwork was performed outside office hours, and on Saturdays and Sundays. Besides, all staff took an oath of office to perform their duties according to the requirements of the Statistics Act.
4.1 Questionnaire design
The questionnaire type, format and contents were determined on the basis of the following factors:
Data to be collected
Data collected were in line with UN recommendations and, in addition, catered for local data needs.
Method of enumeration
For Census 2011, the questionnaires were completed by enumerators who carried out field interviews.
Data capture and processing techniques
The office used scanning and recognition technology for census data capture directly from the questionnaires.
4.2 Contents of questionnaire
The questionnaire contents were determined as follows:
(i) The data needs of main stakeholders from Government Ministries and Departments were considered. As from 2008, heads of Government Ministries and Departments were invited via a circular letter to submit their requirements for demographic, social and economic data considered essential for administration, planning and policy-making and which could be collected at the census. Topics were retained after considering:
- their usefulness to the country;
- the cost for data collection and processing - where it is possible by other means to obtain satisfactory information more cheaply, the topic was not selected; and
- their suitability for data collection at a Census - sensitive and controversial issues as well as questions that are too complicated or difficult for the average respondent to answer were avoided.
(ii) The concepts and questions used for the previous census were examined for relevance and only those found relevant were kept.
(iii) The latest “Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses” were reviewed to determine whether to add questions or to modify existing questions.
(iv) The questions thus arrived at were tested during a pilot census conducted in September 2010. In the light of observations made on the field, some changes were made to the wording and sequence of the questions and a final set of questions adopted.
4.2.1 The Housing Census questionnaire
The Housing Census questionnaire covered all topics and items covered at Census 2000; some new items were added for the reasons given in the column “Remarks”.
The questionnaire was designed to cover 1 housing unit, up to two households, up to three planters and 1 commercial/industrial establishment, guest house or tourist residence. More than one questionnaire was used in other cases.
4.2.2 The Population Census questionnaire
The 2011 Population Census questionnaire included the topics covered at the 2000 Population Census except that on income. Questions were added on National Identity number of each person as well as on residence for the reasons mentioned in the column “Remarks”.
4.3 Questionnaire layout and size
The layout and design of response areas was done to ensure optimum conditions for data capture through scanning and recognition technology. The layout was also influenced by the cost (the number of pages had to be kept to a minimum to cut down on paper, printing and scanning costs) while at the same time ensuring ease of recording the answers on the field.
The quality of information collected depends not only on the training of field workers, but also on the day-to-day control and supervision of the fieldwork. Supervisors had to accompany each of their Enumerators in the first visits to ensure that interviews were done according to instructions given and that all concepts were clearly understood. Surprise and pre-arranged field checks as well as re-interviews also helped to increase the reliability of the information collected. Furthermore, Supervisors had to check all completed questionnaires at the early stage of enumeration and later a sample of the completed questionnaires to ensure that the quality of work was satisfactory. Meetings were held regularly to take stock of the field situation and to solve problems met on the field.
All supervisory staff had to record their field activities in provided diaries. The day-today record outlined the activities carried out, the dates and the places at which the activities were carried out, problems encountered and remedial actions taken. The day-to-day recording of activities allowed supervisory staff to follow the progress of work and to assess the performance of each and every staff working under their supervision. Furthermore, it ensured that supervisory control prevailed all along the fieldwork.