The 2023 census will be conducted using computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) for the first time in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We are excited that we have progressed to this stage where the census questionnaires will be administered electronically,” Chief Statistician Lavorne Williams said at the launch of the census in Kingstown, on Friday.
“It means when the enumerators meet with you, they will no longer be using pen and paper to record the information,” she said.
“We believe that the new electronic system will improve efficiency not only in relation to the collection of data but also the data analysis and publication.”
Williams said Census Day is June 15 and the census will be conducted under the slogan, “Census 2023. They counting you, they counting me. The information will benefit the whole country.”
The data collection period is June 16 to Sept. 15.
The last census was conducted in 2012 and the population of SVG was recorded as 109,991.
“Since then, many changes have taken place, such as fluctuating rates of population growth, changes in employment, changes in the average annual number of births,” Williams said.
The census was due in 2021 but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the eruption of La Soufriere volcano.
“Having gone past most of these hurdles, Census Day is now here,” Williams said.
SVG is divided into 13 census divisions — 11 in St. Vincent and two in the Grenadines — and 403 remuneration districts.
“I want to assure you that the information provided will be kept in strictest confidence and used only for statistical purposes,” Williams said.
“The Statistical Office is prohibited by law from sharing respondents’ personal information with other persons. Each data collector who will be employed by the office must sign an oath of secrecy. The results from the census will be released in a way that no particular person will be identified…” Williams further stated.
“I implore you to be counted, encourage everyone to participate, give truthful information and to remind you that all your responses will be kept confidential. Census data are important for the development of our communities and our country. We look forward to the support of everyone in ensuring the success of the exercise,” the chief statistician said.
She said that preparation for the census began in 2019 and an internal technical working group was formed to manage the various elements of the census.
The committee is comprised of staff of the Statistical Office and the Economic Unit.
Funding for the census is provided by the World Bank Group through a project entitled OECS Data for Decision Making.
Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said the census will cost EC$4 million, of which EC$3.8 million comes from the World Bank and EC$200,000 from the government.
He said data collected from the census is important in national development.
“We are intending to ever more rely on scientific analysis in the deployment of our scarce resources in the formulation of our social policies and in the charting of our developmental path, we cannot do it without the census,” Gonsalves said.
He said that through the census, the government will be able to ascertain trends and those trends inform how the government allocates its resources.
“We understand where we have to put learning resource centres, where we have to put schools…” he said.