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Census 2019: What you need to know and expect

Tuesday August 20 2019

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Isiolo County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri displaying a census 2019 poster at his office in Isiolo Town on August 15, 2019. PHOTO | WAWERU WAIRIMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

CECIL ODONGO
By CECIL ODONGO
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With only three days to the 2019 National Census, many Kenyans in different parts of the country are still unaware on how the exercise will be conducted and the type of questions to expect from enumerators and supervisors.

This will be the sixth population census since Independence and it will be conducted from the night of August 24 to Aug 31, 2019. The previous population censuses were held in 1948, 1962, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009.

The survey being carried out by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) will involve 138,572 enumerators, 22,268 content supervisors and 2,467 ICT supervisors.

Here is an easy-to-understand guide on the census and what to expect.

  • What is a census?

A population census is the process of counting all people in a country at a specified time. It involves collecting, compiling, evaluating, analysing and publishing demographic, social and economic data pertaining, at a specified time, to all persons in a country or a well-defined part of a country.

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  • Why is the census important?

The data collected during census is the primary source of reliable information on the size, distribution of the population in the country, as well as their living conditions and access to basic services at a specified time. The information helps to guide in resource allocation as well as inform planners on policy formulation and targeting of development plans.

  • How will the census data be captured?

Data from this year’s census will be captured using electronic gadgets such as tablets. It will be different from the 2009 census where data was filled in a piece of paper and this will minimise the amount of time taken in each household. Using the digital mode will ensure privacy, faster processing and data safety.

  • At what time of the day will the census officer call at the household?

Counting of people will start on the night of August 24 and continue up to the August 31 when it is scheduled to end. People will be counted with reference to where they spent the night of August 24. This is known as the Reference Night.

  • How long will it take to complete an interview for a household?

It is expected that enumerators will spend about 30 minutes in each house, though this may be shorter or longer depending on the size of the household.

  • How will I know who the census officers are?

Enumerators will have official identity cards and reflector jackets for ease of identification. Also, they have been recruited from where they live. Therefore, they are known by the locals. Enumerators will also be accompanied by village elders, leaders of residence associations or assistant chiefs who are well known by the heads of households.

  • What questions will I be asked during the census?

The key questions that will be asked include: age, sex, marital status, births, deaths, migration, forms and severity of difficulties in performing of daily life activities, educational attainment, labour force particulars, access and ownership of ICT equipment and services, crop farming, livestock and aquaculture, housing characteristics, and ownership of assets.

  • Will data on ethnic composition be collected?

Yes. All previous censuses conducted in Kenya have collected data on ethnicity, reflecting a long-standing and continuing widespread demand for information about ethnic and cultural. Characteristics of the Kenyan population.

  • What will be the evidence that the occupants of household has been counted?

The supervisors and the enumerators will put a mark of a number at the door step of each house to show that the exercise has been conducted. Families have been urged not to erase the mark till the census is over.

  • What happens if one is not counted on the night of August 24?

Those who shall have not been counted by the end of the census shall be required to report to the local administrative office.

  • Whom do I contact in case my household is not covered?

KNBS will provide a toll-free number that citizens can call so that enumerator is sent to households that shall not have been covered.

  • Will Kenyans in the diaspora be counted?

No. Kenyans in the diaspora will not be counted. However, household members will be asked some questions about members of their households who migrated to other countries in the last 15 years.

  • When will the results be released?

It is expected that preliminary results will be released three months after the end of the exercise. The basic reports of the census are expected to be released within six months, while the detailed analytical reports will be released within one year.

  • If I have visitors on the night of the August 24, will they be counted as part of my household?

Anyone who will be present in your household on the night of 24th/25th August 2019 will be counted together with your household. Everyone will be counted depending on where they will be on the night of 24th/25th August 2019. Those who will be on duty working such as nurses on that night will be counted with his/her household that he/she will return to the following day after work.