In Zimbabwe, census taking began as early as 1901 but was initially confined to Non-Africans only. The population was fully enumerated for the first time in 1962, then in 1969 but at differing reference periods for Africans. The 1982 and 1992 censuses were the first censuses with a national coverage. The 1982 Census was conducted on a de-facto basis relating to the night of 17/18th August. Similarly, the 1992 census was also on a de-facto basis. In the 1982 and 1992 censuses, the questionnaire covered such areas as population size, composition (sex, age, ethnic groups); geographical distribution including internal migration. Other topics covered were education, labour force and employment as well as basic living conditions like size of household, access to water, toilet facilities, energy for cooking, were also covered. The 2002 population census was the third after independence.
To supplement the data collected through the census, demographic surveys have also been conducted in 1948, 1954 and after 1982 as part of the Zimbabwe National Household Survey Capability Programme (ZNHSCP), especially the Demographic Socio-Economic Survey of 1983/84, the Inter-Censal Demographic Surveys (ICDS) of 1987,1997 and Demographic and Health Survey of 1988-89,1994 and 1999. A decennial census programme will be maintained, because conducting a census is an expensive exercise as well as a major task. Together with the Household Surveys programme, the August 2002 Census ensures the provision of population data on a continuous basis.
In discussing census objectives, it is useful to distinguish between short-term objectives, which basically entail the delivery of data for immediate uses, and long-term aims which point more towards the infrastructure and capacity building of the statistical system.
Long Term Objectives:
- The provision and maintenance of a time series of relevant population data at national and sub-national levels. A series of periodic censuses, at regular intervals, is important in assessing trends. The past can be appraised, the present assessed and the future estimated based on benchmark data from censuses.
- The development of national capacity to undertake censuses and related statistical activities. Zimbabwe's capability to undertake censuses and surveys has improved over the years. For example, three professionals among those directly involved in the 1992 census are working on the 2002 Census.
The long-term objective of capacity building entails:
- Developing Central Statistical Office (CSO)'s capacity to produce and to co-ordinate the production and dissemination of relevant, accurate and timely statistics to meet the information needs of various agencies;
- Improving its capability to advise other Government departments and agencies involved in the production and dissemination of statistics;
- General strengthening of the infrastructure at CSO.
In this process the census project constitutes one of the major ways through which such capacity is built. It involves acquisition of significant hardware for various purposes and acquisition of skills by CSO staff through on-the-job training provided by international consultants and formal training through fellowships provided by various agencies. The type of training involved covers a wide range of areas e.g. project planning and implementation, data processing, demographic analysis, sampling techniques, etc.
- Provision of a frame for other statistical activities such as the household survey programme. Since 1982, the census has become an important data set for establishing sampling frames and weighting factors for Zimbabwe's National Household Surveys Capability programme. The frame and factors are to be revised after every population census e.g. the 2002 census. It is important to stress this linkage between the census and the survey programme. In essence, the census provides the baseline for the survey programme in terms of maps and household data, which are required in creating the master sample and sub-sample for the survey programme.
In general this involves the provision of current information on demographic and related socio-economic characteristics of the population at national level and various sub-national levels to facilitate effective planning and evaluation of various programmes of government, private sector etc. This needs to be performed in a manner that ensures effective application by the various agencies representing the main census data users.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
- Persons aged 10 and above
- Women aged 12 - 49
The scope of the 2002 census included the following:
- Population characteristics of all individuals covering relationship to head of household, age, sex, birthplace, usual residence, ethnicity, citizenship, marital status, parents' survivorship and disability;
- Education for persons age three years and above;
- Main activity and occupation for persons ten years and above;
- Fertility for women age 12 years to 49 years;
- Living conditions i.e. tenure status, type of dwelling, access to electricity, source of water, access to toilet facility and type of fuel for cooking;
- Deaths in the household.
Producers and sponsors
Central Statistical Office (CSO)
Government of Zimbabwe
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Role of the Enumerator was described as follows:
An enumerator is accountable to the supervisor and his/her roles and duties can be grouped into three categories, i.e. activities before, during and after enumeration.
Activities before enumeration will include the following:
a) mapping and reconnaissance:
- identifying the Enumeration Area (EA), its boundaries and layout.
- check and amend the EA map where necessary, otherwise if changes are major inform supervisor.
- if there are any new developments in the EA, update the map accordingly.
- where there are imaginary boundaries, the enumerators sharing the boundaries must know the common boundaries.
- errors on the map and its description should rarely occur if the mapping was done well. However, if errors are spotted they should be corrected accordingly.
b) publicizing the enumeration and approaching local authorities as well as influential people to introduce oneself.
c) receiving documents and equipment e.g. clipboards, ball points etc.
d) locating dwelling units.
e) arranging appointments for the interviews.
f) preparing itinerary for the enumeration - this will help in spreading the work fairly and uniformly over the enumeration period.
g) recording the geo-code for the EA on the questionnaires - record the first ten digits from left to right or up to enumeration area.
During enumeration the main activities are:
a) asking questions correctly (avoid confused questioning).
b) recording answers clearly, correctly and accurately.
c) checking completed questionnaires, e.g. for consistency and completeness - no gaps should be left, this will result in the saving of time spent revisiting households.
d) at the end of each day carry out verification of the questionnaires to check for completeness.
e) scheduling call-backs, e.g. visiting respondents at different times.
This is the most important job in the census and every effort must be made to obtain complete and accurate responses and to record them correctly. The after-enumeration activities include returning completed questionnaires and materials used during the enumeration process.
Enumerator training included the following:
Detailed discussion of questionnaire sections, questions and instructions
'Homework' assignment that involve reading the questions correctly to someone several times, so as to become comfortable with asking the questions.
Role-playing where trainees assume the roles of Enumerator and respondent.
Practice with particular attention to how the questions should be phrased in the different languages/dialects, to ensure that the meaning of the questions remain consistent.
Field practice interviews, where enumerators actually interview household members. Trainers will work with you and will check and edit the questionnaire as will be done during the actual enumeration.
Central Statistical Office
Government of Zimbabwe
The questionnaire for the Population Census 2002 is divided into the following sections:
A Household identification
B Household composition and individual characteristics - For all persons (except questions 12 and 13 for people 15 years and below)
C Education - for persons 3 years and older and for persons 3-24 years
D Economic activity - for persons 10 years and above
E Births - for women aged 12-49 years
F Living conditions
G Deaths in the household
H Total number of persons in the households
The questionnaire is in English, and is provided as external resources.