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Do we need a census in the middle of a pandemic?

Gabriel Borges, OLAC

Censuses have been delayed, interrupted or cancelled in many countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a few countries conducted them in 2020. The censuses in the United States and in Mexico had already started when those countries were hit by the pandemic, and they made what seemed to be the most sensible decision: continue the census, with a few last-minute adjustments, mainly to protect the health and safety of the National Statistical Offices staff and the public.

Impact on field-based enumeration – Censuses scheduled in year 2020
Source: United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD)

Countries that were planning to conduct their censuses in late 2020 had to cancel or postpone them. Brazil and Ecuador, for instance, postponed their censuses and are now faced with adversities to take them in 2021, both because of the out of control situation of the pandemic, and the difficulties to get the census budged.

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