x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Census fails to reach some residents

Census field work has been completed, but many residents say they still have not been counted.

ABU DHABI //Census fieldwork may have ended earlier this month, but many residents say they are yet to be counted.

The supposedly comprehensive population count officially concluded on November 3, though it was extended by a week for additional home visits.

Despite this, residents in a number of areas around the capital say they have not been contacted by census workers.

"The completed forms are still sitting on my kitchen counter," said Julie Bower, a Canadian resident of the Sun Tower on Reem Island. Ms Bower was far from alone - a number of residents in Khalifa City, Al Reef and the Tourist Club Area all said they too were yet to be visited.

The census is an attempt to count all people - residents and guests - who were in the emirate on October 3, a date referred to as Census Reference Night.

Households have been asked to answer questions about everyone who was in their home between sunset on October 3 and sunrise on October 4.

Census officials from the Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (Scad) this week acknowledged that more data collection could be necessary.

"While the main collection was completed on November 3, initial analysis suggests that a small percentage of people may not have had their forms collected," said Ahmed Al Sharyani, the project manager for the census.

"Some residents may have been missed because they were not at home, perhaps due to work or travel commitments, when the enumerator called. However, Scad still has a team of staff available to visit those individuals or families who were missed."

Residents who are yet to be counted are asked to phone the call centre on 800 555.

A small number of households are also being revisited, because residents refused to complete the forms when enumerators first visited.

Mr Al Sharyani said the information provided to census officials would be used "in making decisions that will effect everyone in the emirate".

"This includes improving services as well as contributing to the development plans for the emirate," he said.

Some residents fear an inaccurate census could have an adverse effect on their quality of life.

"If they miss a lot of people, it would mean a future lack of parking, traffic congestion, lack of school places, queues at the doctor's," said one Tourist Club resident who took part in the census.

Provisional results are expected by the end of the year and final data will be announced in May.

Census workers will then comb through the data, "using a variety of statistical techniques to identify errors and account for missing or inconsistent information", Mr Al Sharyani said.

jthomas@thenational.ae