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Census will take place on the night of Sunday April 10, 2011

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When you fill in your census form on Sunday April 10th, you’re giving us the information we need now to understand what Ireland needs for the future.

What is the Census?

The census is an account of everybody in the country on census night. On census night, everyone in the country must be included on a census form and be part of the official count of people and dwellings that usually happens every five years in Ireland. The About Census 2011 section of this site gives more detailed information.

When is the next Census?

The next census will take place on the night of Sunday April 10, 2011 and will count all the people and households in the country on that night.

When was the last Census?

The last census took place on the night of Sunday April 23, 2006. On that night everybody who was in the State had to be included in a census form, including people staying with friends or relatives, staying in a hotel, hospital, guesthouse or on board a vessel, for example.

Why do we have a Census?

The census will give a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of our people in 2011. Only a census can provide such complete detail. The census is not, however, an end in itself! Rather the results are essential tools for effective policy, planning and decision making purposes.

Ireland has been conducting Censuses of Population since 1821. This enables us to track developments over a long period with considerable accuracy. The census is therefore a fundamental part of our national heritage and collective knowledge.

What is the Census used for?

At national level current population statistics are essential for planning the provision of health care, education, employment, etc. Regional figures are critical for determining regional policy and for the operation of regional authorities (e.g. Health Boards). The greatest strength of the census is the provision of detailed population figures at local level. These help to identify likely demand for schools and health care facilities, areas of relatively high unemployment, the best location for new shops, etc. Article 16.2 of the Constitution (Bunreacht na hÉireann) lays down that the total membership of Dáil Eireann depends on the population as measured by the census (i.e. 1 TD per 20,000 to 30,000 persons). Constituency reviews normally take place once the definitive results of the census have been published.

The census is also the only means of accurately measuring the exact extent of migration. By comparing the results of successive censuses, and taking account of the number of births and deaths that have occurred over the same period, we get an accurate measure of net migration (the difference between inward and outward migration).

Do I have to do it?

Yes. Everybody present in the country on Census Night must be included. This is the law.

But if you think about it, it is in everyone’s interest to be included in the Census. Being included means being included in Irish society and making sure that you are taken account of in the decisions that will be made about our future. If you are not included, you are invisible and the knowledge we will have about who we are will be wrong. And this will lead to wrong decisions for the future.

What do I have to do?

Your census enumerator will deliver your census form to your dwelling sometime in the 3-4 weeks leading up to census day 10th April. You should keep this form in a safe place until census day. The enumerator will be happy to answer any queries you have about the form.

On census day you should complete the form in respect of each person in your household and sign the declaration at the end of the form when it is complete. Please keep it in a safe place until it is collected. Your enumerator will call again in the 2-3 weeks after census day to collect your form. They will also be happy to assist you if you have had any difficulty in completing the form. You may satisify yourself of the identify of the enumerator by asking to see their ID.

Click here to view the census form, details of each of the questions and a guide to completing the census form.

What happens to my data?

When the enumerator collects your census form they summarise the details on the front section of the form and all the forms are returned securely to Census HQ. Over the following months each form is scanned and the data that you have provided in response to each of the census questions is recorded and checked. When all of the data has been recorded it is analysed to provide meaningful reports on a wide variety of statistics.

The census is a major undertaking for the CSO and contractors have been employed to assist with specialised parts of the work. For 2011 the contract for the provision of IT systems for scanning and processing the census was awarded to the UK company CACI (UK) Ltd., following an open competitive procurement process under EU tendering procedures. However, the role of this company is limited to the provision of systems. Your census form will be processed by Officers of Statistics employed directly by the CSO. No-one else will have access to your census form.

Are outside contractors used to process my data?

The census is a major undertaking for the CSO and contractors have been employed to assist with specialised parts of the work. For 2011 the contract for the provision of IT systems for scanning and processing the census forms was awarded to CACI (UK) Ltd. The role of this company is limited to the provision of IT systems and all census forms will be processed by Officers of Statistics employed directly by the CSO. No-one else will have access to your census form.

The contract to CACI UK ltd. was awarded following an open procurement competition run under EU law. This is the third Irish census that CACI UK ltd. have been involved in having first worked on the 2002 census and then again on the 2006 census. CACI UK Ltd. has never provided services to the defense or intelligence sectors and work exclusively in provision of software solutions for the public and private sectors primarily in the UK. For 2011 they also won the contract for the Scottish census.

Allegations in the media about CACI and abuse in Iraq refer to the American parent company CACI International. This American company have no involvement whatsoever in the Irish census. Some concerns have been voiced regarding the US Patriot Act and the possibility that data held by an American company can be passed on to the US authorities. However this can only apply to data that is held on systems owned and operated by the company. This does not apply to the Irish census as only the CSO have access to detailed census data and under no circumstances could the Patriot Act be employed to request data held by CSO. All Census 2011 forms will be processed in CSO’s census office located in Swords where all information will be securely stored on a dedicated closed CSO network which is wholly owned by the CSO. At no time will any of this information be copied or otherwise removed from this network.

Why do I have to give my name?

It is necessary to provide your name so as to ensure that everyone in the household is covered and to assist the householder in ensuring that the correct personal information for each individual is recorded. The name also helps identify where forms are missing or duplicated. Names may also assist in the identification of families within households. However you should note that names on the census forms are not retained as part of the computerised information.

Do I have to give my contact details to my enumerator?

No. The enumerator may ask for personal details such as surname and telephone number but this is to help with the collection of the census forms. However, under the Statistics Act 1993 and Statistics (Census of Population) Order 2010, the questions on the census form must be answered in full.

How do you protect my data?

All of the information you will provide on your census form is completely confidential. This is guaranteed by law.
CSO has taken all possible security measures to ensure that census information is confidential. In particular:

Your census form will be collected and processed by Officers of Statistics employed directly by the CSO. No-one else will have access to your census form.
Your census details are protected by law. Under the Statistics Act 1993, the census returns must be treated as strictly confidential and may be used only for statistical purposes.
All Census 2011 forms will be processed in the CSO’s Census office in Swords, Co. Dublin, where all information is stored on a dedicated closed CSO network. This network is wholly owned by the CSO. The detailed census information will not be copied or otherwise removed from this network.
The census is important, not just for the CSO but for Ireland. It provides the up-to-date information needed for planning at local, regional and national level. Everyone should play their part by filling in the census from on April 10th. We guarantee that the information you give will be treated as strictly confidential and will only be used for statistical purposes.

Can I use the data?

Yes. Preliminary population data will be published within 3 months of census day and over the following 18 months a comprehensive range of statistics will be released covering the topics on which census data has been collected. In addition detailed census data will be available to see and download from the CSO website and can be used by anyone free of charge. You can view and download census 2006 data here.

Census 2011 data will be available:

For a range of different topics covered by the questions
Analysed according to meaningful criteria for example age, sex, etc. with comparisons to previous census
For different geographical areas – for Ireland as a whole, by region, county, District Electoral Division and down to small area level.

Why are so many questions asked?

Every census includes questions on basic demographic and social topics such as age, sex, marital status, education, employment status and occupation. The census is a unique opportunity to gather valuable information and the CSO tries to maintain a balance between, on the one hand, the need for information and, on the other, minimising the burden on respondents. The household form contains questions relating to household characteristics and individuals. The responses to the questions on household characteristics provide important information on the quality of our housing stock.

Who carries out the Census?

The census is organised by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) which employs a temporary field force of nearly 5,500 persons to carry out the census at local and regional level. Census forms are distributed to every household and communal establishment (e.g. hotels) by 5,000 census enumerators who also collect the completed census forms. All census enumerators carry ID cards.
Find out more about what is involved for CSO in organising a census available on the ‘About Census 2011’ page!

Is it possible to fill out the census form online?

No. The census is a major logistical operation. Facilitating responses electronically raises significant security and administrative concerns. Each person (or household) making a return over the Internet would have to be issued with a unique user identification and password to ensure the integrity of the forms returned. It is not clear at this stage whether the benefits of allowing forms to be returned electronically outweigh the costs and risks involved (e.g. significant IT infrastructure developments, differential broadband coverage, tracking non-respondents, removing duplicates, maintaining progress of the field operation). For these reasons it has been decided that the Census in 2011 will be conducted in the more traditional way. However, in line with other statistical offices world-wide CSO will continue to monitor the effectiveness of introducing an online option.

How long will it take me to fill out my form?

The length of time it will take you to complete your census form will depend on the number of persons in the household. It should take an average household less than 30 minutes to complete a census form.

How are census enumerators recruited?

The CSO has employed 5,500 field staff to assist with the distribution and collection of the census forms. All of the recruitment has been carried out directly by the CSO and complies with the strict recruitment principles regarding fairness, equality and transparency that apply to all public sector recruitment.

In making preparations for the recruitment of enumerators for the census, the possibility of giving preference to persons on the Live Register was actively examined by the CSO. However, in light of the need to conduct this recruitment within the strict recruitment principles that apply to all public sector appointments, in practice it has not been open to the CSO to discriminate in favour of any one group of people over another, be they on the Live Register or otherwise.

In selecting candidates for the positions of census enumerator, the CSO called over 15,500 people to interview and all applicants were assessed on the basis of their skills, abilities, and suitability for the post in question. The jobs were ultimately offered to the most qualified candidates. In excess of 730 census enumerators now working on the census indicated they were on the Live Register. Regarding the age profile of census enumerators just 194 persons are aged over 65 with the majority aged between 30 and 65.

Where can I get help?

Click on the following links to get help or call us on Locall 1890 2011 11:

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