The third webinar of the “Data for development in Latin America” series focused on discussing the relevance of censuses in the formulation of public policies for sustainable development.
Censuses such as a radiography of a country allow to characterize the population that composes a territory and identify the cartography and urban capacity. The information collected through the censuses is the main input for decision-making and for the generation of strategies according to the reality of each country both nationally and subnationally.
The results of the censuses in the Latin American and Caribbean region allow to identify those aspects that require the most attention, especially in the design of public policies to comply with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Together with a group of experts and with the moderation of the Data Coordinator of Cepei, Fredy Rodríguez, this webinar sought to highlight the importance of censuses as an instrument of public policy formulation, as well as to identify good practices for the implementation, interpretation and use of the data collected during them.
Pablo Salazar, Regional Advisor on Population and Development for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNFPA, presented a regional vision on censuses in Latin America, highlighting the trends, opportunities and importance of the 2020 census round.
To contextualize, Salazar commented on the results of the 2010 Census Round, mentioning that 93% of the world’s population had the opportunity to be count, the highest level of coverage achieved in the history of mankind; and, likewise, that Guatemala and Haiti were 2 of the 21 countries registered in 2010, which were not able to make a census in that Round. Chile rejected it and several presented high omission rates.
Regarding census trends, Salazar presented the following:
Taking the conversation to a national context, the Deputy Director General of INEC Ecuador, Magaly Paredes, commented on the planning of the Population and Household Census 2020 of Ecuador, the lessons learned and innovations, as well as the success factors of a census.
Regarding the innovations and improvements for the 2020 Census, Paredes mentioned the modification of the institutional organizational structure; the statistical production model; participatory inter-institutional articulation; the methodological innovation of the cartographic update operation; the methodological innovation of the registration; post census evaluation; the census for administrative records; and the appropriate population projections, elements that can be consulted in detail in the full presentation.
Paredes also stressed the main lessons learned in the processes of organization, coordination and execution of the census:
- Realistic planning
- Constant and properly planned resource availability
- Timely forecast of impact events to the project
- The ease and speed of design and execution of contingency plans
She also mentioned the main aspects that must be considered for a census to be successful and used in national planning: the legal framework; financing; stakeholders and monitoring of the project plan; and the analysis of national goals to map the demand for information.
To close the webinar, we listened to Adrián Moreira, Advisor to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy (Mideplan) of Costa Rica, whose presentation outlined the way in which the Ministry makes use of census data, focusing on the value of data for the generation of public policies for sustainable development.
Moreira presented the existing alignment in Costa Rica between the census and the SDG indicators:
- Aspectos generales sobre los censos de población y vivienda en América Latina con miras a la ronda 2020, CEPAL – CELADE (2018)
- Evaluation of UNFPA support to population and housing census data to inform decision-making and policy formulation, UNFPA (2005-2014)