x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Capital residents prepare for census

Abu Dhabi residents say they have been well informed of what to expect from the census this week.

ABU DHABI // The months-long public awareness campaign for the census seems to have done its job, with many residents saying they are prepared for the population count.

The Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (Scad) has advertised the first survey in more than five years in newspapers and on grocery bags, billboards and lamp posts. A big sign on the Corniche counts down the seconds to its launch.

Thousands of census forms have been distributed and several residents of the capital said yesterday they had received their questionnaires ahead of a visit from an official census-taker this month.

"They stopped by and handed me the form but I have not looked at it yet," said Sanghamitra Sahel, 35, a housewife from India who has lived in Abu Dhabi for a year.

"But I like the idea of a census, because of course the Government would like to know what kind of people live here, their economic make-up and their nationalities, and what kind of education they have."

The forms, which request details such as name, occupation, age, marital status, education and nationality, will be handed out today as part of the preparation for the fieldwork portion of the census.

Hotels, hospitals, prisons and student dormitories will have to fill out questionnaires and census takers will knock on doors to record information on tablet computers.

Both types of forms will ask for details of all residents and visitors who are in the home on Census Reference Night, which is from sunset today to sunrise tomorrow.

More than 6,000 census takers will collect data until October 27.

Naomi Kinnaird, a New Zealander working in education, said she had read about the census in the newspaper and knew what would come next. "It's a big task for them," Ms Kinnaird said. "It's such a multicultural society."

Manal Al Karbi, 25, an Emirati student, said she had not yet received a visit from a Scad official.

"I hope they come soon," Ms Al Karbi said. "It's good that they put in the time to see everyone, especially because people are welcoming the census."

Census workers will visit homes between 4pm and 9pm from Sundays to Thursdays, and possibly some mornings or weekends. They will wear official vests and carry badges.

Marjorie Ragonjan, 43, said she was nervous about strangers coming to her home, regardless of their uniform.

"I don't want anybody to come without my husband there," said Mrs Ragonjan, a Filipina who has lived in the capital for five years.

Provisional census results are expected in December and full results should be made public next year.

jthomas@thenational.ae

vnereim@thenational.ae