x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi carries out census test-run

An emirate-wide census will be conducted by the end of the year.

ABU DHABI // The emirate has completed a pilot population survey ahead of a full census expected to begin in September.

The survey, which collected information from approximately 10,000 people, was the first such count since 2005.

It was designed as a test run for a more comprehensive emirate-wide census, according to an official at the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (Scad), who said public feedback would be taken into account to "refine the questions".

More than 200 volunteers were involved in carrying out the pilot survey over two weeks last month. The process involved so-called "enumerators" visiting homes and work camps and calculating the number of individuals living in the residence on May 14, called the reference night.

This helped Scad take "a snapshot of the population residing in the selected regions at one point in time", the official said.

People staying in hotels were asked to fill out a form.

"This approach will be used in the main census," the official said. "Most people will be asked a series of questions by the enumerator. People who are in hotels, hotel apartments, hostels, dormitories and other institutions will complete paper forms."

Respondents were asked the name, age, gender, marital status, education levels, and occupations of all residents in their home.

The pilot survey took place in various areas in the capital, Al Ain and Al Gharbia, five hotels in Abu Dhabi and three workers' camps in Musaffah. Volunteers visited households between 4-9pm and recorded information on iPads.

Paper forms were distributed to households ahead of the mini-census. Households missed were contacted to arrange follow-up interviews.

The last national census was carried out more than five years ago. A plan to conduct a door-to-door census nationwide was called off in April, due to a "lack of financial resources" to cover its estimated cost of Dh65 million. However, a census using administrative date is currently under way. Using records of births, deaths and net migration, the National Bureau of Statistics estimated there were approximately 8.26 million people living in the UAE in mid-2010.

Scad, meanwhile, estimated the Abu Dhabi's population at 1.97 million in 2010 using its records and responses from residents during home visits.

The Abu Dhabi Government said its mini-census would "allow us to produce information about the characteristics and spatial data of each of the three regions".

The more comprehensive census will begin across Abu Dhabi in September, with the process expected to take about three weeks.

The Scad official said the data would be comparable with that of other GCC countries.

Scad expects the full census to indicate that the emirate's population tops two million people.

The results, along with a count of businesses collected in 2010, will be made public by mid-2012. A call centre, staffed by more than 40 employees, has been set up to handle resident inquiries.

jthomas@thenational.ae