5 June 2012

Ghana: 2010 Population and Housing Census Release of Final Results

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Speech by Acting Government Statistician - Dr. Philomena Nyarko

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Ministers, Hon. Members of Parliament, Members of the National Census Steering Committee, the National Census Technical Advisory Committee and the National Census Publicity and Education Committee members, Development Partners, Distinguished guests, our friends from the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is indeed a great pleasure to present to you the final results of the 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC). Mr Chairman, the main objective for conducting the 2010 Census was to provide the country with up-to-date socio-economic data for planning and for evauating various government policy intervention programmes at the national, regional and district levels, and to fill the substantial data gaps that have arisen from the creation of new district. The 2010 PHC is the fifth census conducted in Ghana since independence. It is also second time a Population and Housing census was conducted as a single operation.

Mr Chairman, preparations towards the conduct of the 2010 Census started in 2007 with the development of a project document and the setting up of the census machinery. The Objective of the Census were to be achieved on the basis of a number of interrelated activities which were executed in three major phases, namely pre-enumeration, enumeration and post enumerationation.

The pre-enumeration phase involved the establishment of an institutional framework and implementation arrangement, the updating of enumeration area maps, determination of data needs, preparation of the census questionnaires and manuals, pre-testing of the data collection tools and a trial census.

Mr Chairman, the enumeration phased involved the deployment of over 50,000 trained field personnel to every part of the country to collect information on households, individuals, housing units and community facilities. The post enumeration phase, on the other hand, involved data

processing and analysis of the census results, and the conduct of the census Post Enumeration Survey, which is mean to assess the degree of census coverage as well as the accuracy of the responses received.

Mr Chairman, topics selected for inclusion in the 2010 Census questionnaire were based on UN Recommendations for the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Censuses worldwide and the needs of data users. In 2008, GSS prepared a list of topics to be covered in the census and were reviewed by the National Census Technical Advisory Committee, after which a draft census questionnaire was prepared.

Although, some of the 2000 Census questions were maintained, others were modified to meet current needs of data users. New topics that were included in the 2010 Census questionnaire were; agriculture, external emigration, ICT, Date of birth, pregnancy related deaths and disability.

As a result of the introduction of additional topics to the 2010 Census questionnaire, the number of questions asked rose from 43 in 2000 to 48 in 2010. Mr. Chairman, I must state that GSS could not accommodate all the questions/topics that some of the MDAs presented due to the large size of the questionnaire.

Mr Chairman, for the successful implementation of any large scale data collection exercise such as the 2010 Census, there was the need to pilot all the activities that were to be undertaken during the main census. A trial census was therefore carried out in October-November 2009.

The trial census was designed to test the adequacy of the entire census plan and census organisation. Census questionnaires, operational control forms, enumeration area maps, manuals, and census administrative processes such as distribution of materials, recruitment and training of field staff, field data collection, quality control, and form retrieval processes were tested. Lessons learnt from this exercise were used to re-design the census questionnaire, review enumeration area maps, manuals and other documents.

Mr. Chairman, one of the major strategies adopted during the 2010 Population and Housing Census was to recruit qualified persons and provide them with good training so that they would understand the concepts, definitions and procedures to enable them collect good quality census data in an efficient manner.

The training was to enable the personnel to properly administer the census questionnaires and complete the operational control forms. It was also to equip field staff with map interpretation skills as well as techniques of interviewing.

Mr. Chairman, for the first time in Ghana's history of census taking, online registration was used to obtain the list of potential enumerators. The online registration system enabled all potential applicants, irrespective of their location to apply for and select the locality in which they wanted to do the field work. Shortlisted applicants were interviewed and selected at the district level.

Mr Chairman, pre-enumeration activities such as cartographic work, preparation of census documents, trial census, recruitment and training of staff are all aimed at ensuring a successful data collection exercise. The main instruments used for the data collection were the census questionnaires and summary forms.

Data collection started with the enumeration of non-household and floating populations and the listing of houses/structures. This was followed by interviews in households. In the data collection operation, one enumerator canvassed one enumeration area and a supervisor took charge of one supervision area with an average of four to five enumeration areas. Close to 40,000 enumeration areas were canvassed across the ten regions of the country.

The enumeration exercise started at midnight of 26 September 2010 and officially ended on 17 October 2010.

Mr Chairman, to ensure that every structure, household, individual and locality was enumerated using the same time reference point, all enumerators were asked to collect the information with reference to the Census Night (September 26, 2010). The enumeration was monitored by well-trained staff from the United Nations and from GSS itself. The monitoring team assessed the enumeration and this was used as the basis for taking decisions to address many of the challenges that confronted the field staff.

The requirement that Field Supervisors and Enumerators write their telephone numbers on the census questionnaire and that each household provides a contact telephone number facilitated checking, verification and editing of questionnaires and follow up field visits, all of which increased the quality of the information collected. Furthermore, Field Supervisors and Senior Field Supervisors were engaged to check and edit the work of the enumerators which contributed to the enhancement of the data quality.

Mr Chairman, challenges are bound to occur in a large scale national exercise such as the 2010 Census. One of the challenges encountered during the 2010 Census was the initial shortage of census questionnaires at the enumeration stage.

However, with hard work and dedication by staff of GSS and the commitment of the field personnel, GSS was able to collect information from all communities. There were however few communities-many of them in flooded areas where enumeration could not be carried out within the official enumeration period.

These communities enumerated after the floods had subsided. GSS also experienced the initial refusal of some individuals and communities to participate in the census due to boundary disputes. With the intervention of the District Assemblies and opinion leaders these communities were later accepted to be enumerated on condition that they would be placed in the appropriate districts during data processing.

Mr Chairman, you would recall that provisional figures of the 2010 Census were released in February 2011, three months after the end of official enumeration. District level figures were not released because of boundary disputes that were experienced during the field work. After the end of the field work, GSS requested the Hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to assist in' resolving the disputes. Subsequently, a committee was formed to investigate the causes of the disputes and find amicable solutions to them.

The Committee completed its work and submitted their interim report to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development on April 16, 2012. GSS has used the recommendations of the Committee to effect the necessary changes. The district level figures would therefore be released today.

Mr Chairman, may I use this opportunity to thank the Hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and members of the Committee for the role they have played in the resolution of the district boundary disputes. We will also like to thank all stakeholders - Chiefs, Regional Ministers, DCEs, Opinion Leaders and all other individuals who assisted the Committee in its work.

Mr Chairman, no census work of this magnitude would have been possible without the contribution of a large number of individuals and organisations. GSS involved many stakeholders at various stages in the implementation of the 2010 Census programme in a bid to mobilize resources and expertise from all relevant institutions.

The 2010 Census required large amounts of financial, human, material and physical resources which were provided by Government, MDAs, MMDAs and development partners. These contributed to the effective planning and implementation of the Census. We would therefore like to acknowledge the efforts of all the contributors to this important national exercise.

First, GSS wishes to thank the Government of Ghana, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Controller and Accountant-General's Department and the Bank of Ghana for ensuring the prompt release of funds for the 2010 Census exercise. We would also like to recognize the institutional and logistical support of the various MDAs and MMDAs. We would particularly like to give special thanks to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Fire Service, National Identification Authority, Electoral Commission, Ghana Armed Forces, and Information Services Department for the roles they-played at the different stages of the census.

Mr Chairman, we also appreciate the immense contributions from our development partners, especially UNFPA for advocating for donor support and providing financial, technical and logistical assistance, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union for their financial support, and the World Bank for managing the funds and providing technical support, and the United Nations Development Programme for assisting with building the capacity of staff.

I also wish to state that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has pledged to support GSS in the analysis and dissemination of the district- level census data and we are grateful to them for that.

We are grateful to the Media Communication and Advocacy Network (MCAN) and the media in general for coverage of the preparatory activities and the census field work, as well as their advocacy efforts, and the publicity and educational programmes they aired on our behalf. Also worth mentioning is the speed with which the media carried, complaints of individuals and households to the attention of the Census Secretariat.

Mr Chairman, we wish to thank all Ghanaians and foreign residents of Ghana most sincerely' for their cooperation. We further commend the commitment of the field personnel for the successful implementation of this national exercise.

Our gratitude also go the Regional and District Census Officers and their committees for helping to take the census message to the people and doing a good job in the field. At the regional and district levels, the census benefited from participation by the Heads of Departments in the Regional and District Census Implementation Committees.

These committees assisted in the recruitment and training of field staff and mobilized resources including transportation and storage, for the census questionnaires and other field logistics.

Mr Chairman, the months and days leading to this release have been trying and difficult, due mainly to data capture problems encountered in the use of the scanning technology. However, through the support and guidance of the GSS Board, the Chief Technical Advisor on the Census,

the Census Management Advisor and the commitment and resourcefulness of the staff of GSS, we have been able to get to where we are today.

Today's release would be the second of the series of releases planned for the 2010 Census. The next stage would involve the release of detailed statistical tables, to be followed by analytical reports which will link the population data to developmental issues such as housing, education, health and sanitation.

Finally, Mr Chairman, we are very grateful to the Almighty God for bringing us this far in spite of the difficulties.

Thank you for your attention.

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