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Definition of Census (UN): ‘The total process of collecting, compiling and publishing demographic, economic and social data pertaining at a specified time or times, to ALL persons in a country or delimited territory’.
It is massive undertaking to contact every member of the population in a given time and collect a variety of information
It needs
• Massive preparation and
• Several years to analyze the results after census is taken
• This is the main problem of census as a data source i.e. that the results are not available quickly
Census in India
The first regular census was undertaken in 1881
Census is undertaken after every 10 years
Usually, it is conducted at the end of the first quarter of the first year in each decade.
The last census was held in March 2011
The Census Act of 1948 is the legal basis of the censes
The Census Commissioner of India is the highest officer responsible for guiding and operating the census
Although the primary function of census was to collect demographic information i.e.
• Total count of population
• Break-up of the population into subgroups such as age and sex distribution
But over the years, much more information is collected along with this
• Social and economic characteristics of the households
• Their living conditions e.g. type of fuel used, type of house etc.
• Occupation
• Income Etc.
Census data provides a frame of reference and baseline information for administration, planning, action and research in medicine and social sciences
Population census provides the data used to compute health, demographic and socio-economic indicators