Census 2008 Overview

Fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census

In the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the SSCCSE has been mandated with conducting the Southern portion of the Fifth Population and Housing Census of Sudan, with enumeration to take place in April 2008.

What is a census?

A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population. It can be contrasted with sampling in which information is only obtained from a subset of a population. As such it is a method used for accumulating statistical data, and it is also vital to democracy (voting). Census data is also commonly used for research, business marketing, and planning purposes. (Definition courtesy of Wikipedia)

The United Nations defines the Population Census as:

"The total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and publishing or other wise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining at a specified time, to all persons in a country or in a well-delimited part of a country."

Importance of the census in Sudan: What it is used for and why

In Sudan, the last successful national population census dates back more than twenty years. The Fifth Population Census of Sudan will be the country's most ambitious and important statistical project ever. The preparation and execution of this census is a key requirement for the organization of the mid-term general elections, and its completion will be a significant milestone in the implementation of the Statistical Information Strategy that is outlined in the Joint Assessment Mission Sudan. Until the census has been successfully completed, all survey-based statistics will be provisional and subject to doubt due to the lack of any complete sample frame.

Aside from providing a sample frame for subsequent household and agricultural surveys, the results of the census will also play an important role in Sudan's political process. The CPA specifically singles out the census as one of the building blocks to peace rather than a simple outcome of peace. The importance of the census can be gauged by the reference to it in the Power Sharing Agreement of the CPA. Based on the census data, the allocations of the seats of the National Assembly shall either be confirmed or adjusted.

The census results will also be used to inform the decision-making process within the government, business and NGO sectors, as well as enable policy and programme monitoring.

Information taken from the Information & Statistics portion of the Joint Assessment Mission Sudan, Volume III