Janaganana karaycha aahe
June 29, 2010 3:42 PM Subscribe
How do you survey a billion people?
posted by ocherdraco (19 comments total)
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Since April 1, India has been conducting its 15th decennial census
. Unlike in some countries, in India, the data for the census is still entirely collected by enumerators—2.7 million of them—who visit every residence in the country to count the people living there.
Some interesting things about this massive undertaking:
- The census is not done all over the country at once, but rather has a staggered schedule, with different states each beginning their 45-day survey at different times.
- The census is actually two different surveys: the Houselisting, or Housing Census, which is concerned with type and quality of housing, and the National Population Register, which is the first step for the creation of Unique Identification Cards for every citizen.
- As they did for the first time in the 2001 census, the 2011 census is using forms that will be read by machine, not compiled by hand. Using lessons learned from the previous census, the form (on pages 17-18 of this 2.3MB pdf) which is printed in 16 of India's 450 languages, has been redesigned to reduce human error, reduce fatigue for interviewers and make the data user-friendly with the assistance of Rupesh Vyas, a professor at India's National Institute of Design.
- Though it has not been officially part of the census since 1931, there has been a move this year to once again ask residents about their caste. Even though the census is already underway, the "caste question" is still under review. But that hasn't stopped some enumerators from asking about it, and the suggestion caused Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan to declare after he and his family were counted that if he had been asked his caste, his answer would have been "Indian."
- The Instruction Manual for the Houselisting and Housing Census (a 4.5MB pdf linked in five languages from this page on the census website) is pretty fascinating. It explains to the numerators things like how to describe a servant's residence for the purpose of the census: if a servant eats from his employer's kitchen, he is considered part of the employer's household, so his house is part of his employer's residence (they are counted as one), but if he takes his meals from his own kitchen, then his residence and his employer's are counted separately. The FAQs for Enumerators are also enlightening, and give a sense of the complexity of the project. Some of the questions touch on architecture and building classification, others on human relationships:
- In commercial areas/ public houses,
we find houses where people sleep at
night on payment basis. The persons
may or may not cook there. Should
we list the households/ persons or
treat these houses as non-residential
and the persons as houseless?
- Whether live-together will be
considered as married couple?
- When a husband is having 3 wives,
how to enter all the spouses?
- In Navodaya Vidyalaya there are
many hostels in the compound
adjacent to each other but differently
named as Krishna, Godavari etc for
boys and girls separately but the
mess is common for all the
occupants of the Hostel.
Whether it will be one
institutional household or
- In case every hostel in the
compound has its separate
mess how it will be dealt
- How filled-in Schedules, etc. are to be submitted for the uninhabited villages?
- Questions about kitchens:
- Single person is living in a house having separate kitchen.
He is preparing
tea/milk and using LPG for
it. But taking meal from
hotel/mess etc. Whether it is
to be considered as having
kitchen in the house (code 1)
or no cooking (code 5).
- Similarly a household having
kitchen separately in the
house but cooking outside
the house (specially in rural
areas), what will be the code
(code 1 or code 4)
- Now-a-days, mobile phones have FM radio. Will it be considered as radio? Likewise, advance mobile phones have facilities similar to TV, laptop, etc. Will these facilities be considered also for recording possession in questions 29 and 30?