Sunday, May 06, 2007

El Salvador's upcoming national census

Commencing on Saturday, May 12, 2007, El Salvador will conduct its first national census since 1992. More than 18 thousand polltakers will spread out through the cities and villages of El Salvador over the following 16 days to assemble an official count of the population. They will visit some 1.6 million homes.

An article in El Faro examines the variety of problems facing polltakers, particularly in areas of the country where the level of crime is high. Plans are in place to provide security for polltakers, and to involve community leaders to offer guidance on the ways to approach violent neighborhoods. The lack of trust of the people living in these areas may make them reluctant to allow polltakers into their homes. The government has started a publicity campaign to familiarize the population with the census and the questions they can expect.

In 1992, the census after the civil war counted 5,118,599 Salvadorans. Since that time, population figures for El Salvador have been estimates based on projections from the 1992 census. The most recent estimate of El Salvador's population is 7.1 million, but the actual number may turn out to be lower due to the impact of migration and lower birth rates.

In addition to simply counting the members of households, census takers will be asking questions about migration, house construction, access to water supplies, and other issues.

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