The Census of Jamaica has been conducted since 1844 and a total of 14 censuses have been taken up to 2011. The 1960 census was conducted in accordance with the United Nations recommendation that censuses should be taken every 10 years in or around the year ending in '0'. Since then, censuses have been taken in 1970, 1982, 1991, 2001 and 2011.
Jamaica conducted its Fourteenth Census of Population and Housing in 2011. Under the provisions of the Statistics Act, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is vested with the authority to conduct any census in Jamaica. The census plays an essential role in all elements of the national statistical system, including the economic and social components. Census statistics are used as benchmarks for statistical compilation or as a sampling frame for household sample surveys. The national statistical system of almost every country relies on sample surveys for efficient and reliable data collection. Without the sampling frame derived from the population and housing census, the national statistical system would face difficulties in providing current reliable official statistics.
While recognizing the importance of the census however, countries are faced with serious resource constraints. Census taking in Jamaica faces not only the challenge of limited resources but an apathetic public which views official data collection with suspicion and even hostility. Despite a vibrant publicity programme for Census 2011, the level of cooperation particularly in some urban centres was disappointing. Worker attitude also presented problems as in a number of cases workers had to be relieved of their duties due to poor and or unproductive work. There was not always sufficient recognition of the fact that remuneration was for work done.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
Edited data used for report Version 1.0
DDI and ID field edited by World Bank Development Data Group for it's microdata library.
The United Nations Principles and Recommendations guided all technical considerations including the choice of topics. The topics included on the census questionnaire were as follows:
Individual: Age, Sex, Relationship to Head of Household, Religious Affiliation, Ethnic origin, Marital and Union Status, Educational Attainment, Physical and Mental Limitations, Birthplace and Residence, Training, Economic Activity and Social Welfare, Fertility, Transportation, Information and Communication Technology;
Household: Type of Unit, Material of outer walls, Material of Roofing, Number of rooms, Tenure of Land and Dwelling, Availability and Type of Kitchen, Bathroom and Toilet Facilities, Method of Disposal of Solid Waste, Source of Water for Domestic Use, Source of Drinking Water, Type of Lighting, Type of Fuel used for Cooking, Availability of Telephone and other Communication Devices and facilities, Migration and Mortality.
The 2011 census, like all since 1943, was conducted on a 'de jure' basis. The 'de jure' count includes all persons, Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans whose usual place of residence was in Jamaica even if they were temporarily (less than six months) abroad at the time of the census.
The following groups were excluded:
(i) All Jamaicans (including diplomatic personnel) who were away from the country for six months or more;
(ii) All visitors to Jamaica who are usual residents of other countries; and
(iii) All foreign diplomatic personnel located in Jamaica.
Producers and sponsors
Division of Censuses
Statistical Institute of Jamaica
Social and Demographic Statistics
Government of Jamaica
Regional Census Coordinating Committee
Collaboration and cooperation at the regional level
The United Nations Population Fund
XSOMO International Ltd.
University of the West Indies
Planning Institute of Jamaica
Ministries of Health
Ministries of Education
Ministries of Housing
Ministries of the Environment, Transport and Works
Information and Technology Division
The census design included a Post Enumeration Survey planned as a coverage assessment tool. The Post Enumeration Survey was conducted during the period September 7-30, 2011 in all parishes and covered a 5 per cent sample of census EDs. A total of 286 EDs were eventually canvassed.
Jamaica was divided into 5,776 geographic units called enumeration districts (EDs) for the purpose of data collection during the 2011 Population and Housing Census. Each ED is an independent unit which shares common boundaries with contiguous EDs. The number of dwellings/households contained in the ED (estimated before the census) was the primary determination of the size of an ED. This was approximately 150 dwellings/households in urban areas and 100 in rural areas. Each ED was designed to be of a size that would ensure an equitable work load for each census taker, and because dwellings are more widely spaced in rural areas than in urban areas, rural EDs usually contained fewer dwellings/households than their urban counterpart. When grouped together, enumeration districts reconstitute larger divisions; special area, constituency and the parish.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The data collection activities were managed Mrs Merville Anderson, Director of Field Services assisted by Mr Herbert Wallace, Senior Field Supervisor as Country Field Coordinator.
Data Collection Notes
The planning, design and execution of this, the fourteenth census, was carried out mainly by the staff of the Statistical Institute. A large number of the staff of STATIN from every Division participated in this exercise. The Director General, Miss Sonia Jackson as Census Officer, in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act, was responsible for the coordination of all census activities.
For administrative purposes the island was divided into 7 Regions, 62 Coordinator Areas and 1,029 Supervisory Zones (See Appendix III). A central Census Office was established in the KMA. Seven Regional Managers who were selected from STATINs permanent field supervisors operated from offices in the KMA, Linstead, May Pen, Black River and Montego Bay. Each of the 62 Area Coordinators maintained an office in a central location in the area. The field organization operated under the direction of the Director of Field Services.
Field enumeration started slowly on April 5, 2011 as many Census Takers had not been issued identification cards. For an identification card to be issued the area manager must have completed the selection process and submit the relevant information to the head office where checks have to be made to verify the training location of the individual. Photographs for identification were stored by training sites so this information had to be retrieved to request the identification from the service providers. The collection process limped for the first three weeks of April and returns were slow. Census takers began to express dissatisfaction with what they considered late payments of Training Fees. By the beginning of May with such payments made, the pace of enumeration picked up somewhat but census workers again began agitating for payments of claims for travelling even in some instances with very little or no work done. The militancy continued as the problems with these first payments were resolved very close to the pay period. Some persons threatened leave the job. At this time members of the senior staff of STATIN were kept busy responding to the media as they were approached by dissatisfied census workers. A number of supervisors and census takers gave up the job while others were relieved because of non-performance but by the time that began to happen, there were persons available as replacements. The data collection phase ended on August 31, 2011.
Challenges of Data Collection
The main challenges encountered could be summarized in the following- - the general hostility of the population with what was regarded as a 'government' project;
- the inability to relate their participation with immediate personal benefits;
- the belief that the information would be given to the tax collectors;
- violence in some areas and the inability to be out late at nights;
- incidents of dog bites;
- lack of access to gated communities;
- inefficient and unproductive census workers.
Statistical Institute of Jamaica
One questionnaire was developed for use in the census to collect information from individuals and one for households. The topics included on the census questionnaire were as follows:
- Relationship to Head of Household
- Religious Affiliation
- Ethnic origin
- Marital and Union Status
- Educational Attainment
- Physical and Mental Limitations
- Birthplace and Residence
- Economic Activity and Social Welfare
- Information and Communication Technology.
- Type of Unit
- Material of outer walls
- Material of Roofing
- Number of rooms
- Tenure of Land and Dwelling
- Availability and Type of Kitchen, Bathroom and Toilet Facilities
- Method of Disposal of Solid Waste
- Source of Water for Domestic Use
- Source of Drinking Water
- Type of Lighting
- Type of Fuel used for Cooking
- Availability of Telephone and other Communication Devices and facilities
- Migration and Mortality.
The data collecting method utilised was the "interviewer Method" One census taker was assigned to each enumeration district (to be defined) to list every building in the area assigned. Where the building was found to be the living quarters of an individual or a group of individuals the form was completed for each household and each person. Each census taker worked with a household form and an individual form. Consideration was also given to the enumeration of persons who live in institutions as well as persons who were located on the streets and this was taken into account in the design.
The processing of the census returns is a massive undertaking for which STATIN sought to utilize modern technology for this phase. The data processing of the questionnaires was out-sourced to XSOMO International Ltd., who was required to produce the electronic data in a database format and images of the questionnaires. Scanning of the forms which began in June 2011 ended on January 31, 2012. The data editing and cleaning were done using software developed internally and shared via the intranet. The validity and consistency checks which followed have been completed for those variables which have been included in this report. A full and clean database, from which tables on all census topics will be produced, is expected by December 2012.
University of the West Indies
Users of the data must agree to keep confidential all data contained in these datasets and to make no attempt to identify, trace or contact any individual whose data is included in these datasets.
Datasets are distributed at minimal or no cost for legitimate research depending on the classification of user, with the condition that users acknowledge source of data. Copies of all reports and publications based on the requested data must be sent to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica and the Derek Gordon Databank, Sir Arthur Lewis institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies.
Statistical Institute Of Jamaica. Jamaica Population Census 2011 [Computer file]. Kingston, Jamaica: Statistical Institute Of Jamaica [producer], 2011. Kingston, Jamaica: Derek Gordon Databank, University of the West Indies [distributors], 2011.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica and University of the West Indies accepts no responsibility for the results and/or implications of any actions resulting from the use of these data.
DDI Document ID
Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies