The 15th Population and Housing Census is right around the corner and many people are excited about the prospects for employment and nation-building.
“I’m looking forward to the census. I’ve worked actually in three capacities,” says Patricia Curtis, who has worked on two censuses in the past. She tells JIS News that the census provides an opportunity for her to “give back” to her country through the role she plays in the data-collection process.
Ms Curtis, who also works as a Clerical Assistant at the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Kingston, Field Office, informs that she has had the privilege of working as a “special census taker and a regular census interviewer”. “It was a good experience because what the special census taker entails is that we would go into group dwellings like hospitals and boarding schools,” informs Ms Curtis, adding that she also went into the Horizon Remand Centre.
She notes that as a special census taker, she had no face-to-face interaction with respondents, but instead, records were provided on each individual, while as a “regular census interviewer” she went into communities and had direct contact with people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
With recruitment now underway for 8,000 census takers and supervisors across the island, Ms Curtis is encouraging each citizen to apply. “You’ll be able to give back to your country while getting paid at the same time,” she says.
She further points out that persons can apply to become census workers on a part-time basis. “You don’t have to commit fully to being a census taker. You can work at your leisure [and] on weekends and you’ll still get paid,” Ms Curtis explains, noting that persons are paid based on the number of completed questionnaires.
Persons 18 years and older who have attained secondary-level education or have worked with STATIN on surveys in the past are eligible to apply to become census workers. Recruitment for census takers and supervisors will end on April 3, 2022. Other positions will be advertised later.
For his part, Jermaine Gayle, who worked on his first census at 20 years old as an interviewer, says he felt a level of satisfaction at the end. “When the report was being read, I felt joy and everything to know that I participated in getting this survey done,” he reflects. As the date for the 2022 census approaches, Mr Gayle, who describes himself as a “people person”, says he cannot wait for data collection to begin.
Data collection will begin in September and end in December 2022, after which the information is compiled, analysed and a census report produced.
The exercise is conducted once every 10 years and allows the country to take a snapshot of its population to determine how many people reside within its borders, who they are, and where they live. It counts everyone in the country.
Meanwhile, Corporate Communications Manager, STATIN, Georgia Garvey-Green, points out that the data collected during the census is used to make informed decisions by the Government, individuals, the business community and civil society organisations.
“Our nursing students, for example, are heavy users of our census data because when they have to go into the communities for their practical, they have to understand the demographics of the community that they are going to serve. So, they would want from us the sex ratio, how many males, how many females, the age distribution and some other basic information,” Mrs Garvey-Green adds.
The 15th Population and Housing Census was initially scheduled for 2021 but was delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The last census was done in 2011.
Data collection will be done for the first time using tablets.