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7 Problems of Population Census


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Problems of Census

The conducting of a census is one of the most important things countries must do on a regular basis. But sadly, in many parts of the world (especially in the underdeveloped parts), a lot of problems appear during the conducting of the census that make it sometimes difficult to conduct regular censuses or get adequate census figures.

8 Common Problems Countries Face in Conducting Census

Some of the major problems faced by nations when it comes to conducting a census include the following.

1. Cost of Conducting Census

One of the biggest challenges associated with conducting a census in poor countries is the enormous financial costs of conducting the exercise. It is no secret that it is extremely costly to conduct a census. Even in developed nations, the costs involved in conducting censuses can be quite overwhelming.

For many poor countries all over the world, taking huge amounts of money out of their limited resources to conduct a census can be very challenging. As a result, many poor countries cannot conduct censuses as regularly or as efficiently as richer countries do.

2. High Illiteracy Rate in a Nation Has a Negative Impact on the Conducting of Census

Countries with large proportions of their populations being illiterate face a great challenge during the conducting of censuses. Numerous studies have shown that countries with very high illiteracy rates find it more difficult to undertake an efficient population census than countries with high literacy rates.

For example, in certain remote parts of the world where illiteracy rates are extremely high, many people tend to run away from census officials when they arrive to count them. As a result of illiteracy, many of these people feel that it is taboo to count human beings.

Sometimes these illiterate members of the population also feel that the government uses counting of people as a strategy to raise the taxes of households. Therefore, they give wrong information to the census officials or run away from their villages when these census officials come to count them. This often translates to inaccurate population figures.

3. Inadequate Infrastructural Facilities in Certain Areas

There are certain places where it is challenging to undertake an efficient population census because of poor infrastructural facilities such as bad roads, inaccessible roads, or insufficient roads that connect various towns and villages. There are certain very remote places where the only available medium of transportation is by foot.

In light of this, many census officials can’t reach these very remote and inaccessible places to count the people and therefore make estimations as to the number of people living in such areas. The end result is inadequate population figures after the census.

4. Traditional and Religious Beliefs Can Interfere With the Census Exercise

In many underdeveloped parts of the world (especially in certain remote parts of Africa) where traditional beliefs are the order of the day, census officers face serious challenges when they reach these places and try counting the people. Most people in such areas deliberately decide not to make themselves available to be counted because of their strong traditional beliefs. Some of these traditional beliefs consider it an abomination to count people while they are still alive.

According to these beliefs, anybody who gets counted exposes themself to suffering from all sorts of ill fortunes, which can range from ailments to even death. Some traditional believers also consider it a taboo to let women count men. Therefore, they don’t make themselves available to be counted by the female census officers sent by the government to their villages.

5. Corruption Interferes With Census

Corruption during census-taking can make it difficult to determine accurate population figures. One of the biggest reasons censuses aren’t very successful in a country such as Nigeria is the high corruption rate.

Over the years, there have been countless stories of corrupt census officials collecting monies needed for conducting census but pocketing these monies and sitting in their offices while writing down imaginary population statistics of villages and towns without actually having visited these places. This automatically leads to inaccurate population data for a country.

Also, in countries where population sizes determine how much money the central government releases to a state or province, corruption can easily overtake the census-taking process and make states exaggerate their population sizes to get a bigger share of funds during the central government’s distribution of funds. Corruption is one of the biggest reasons certain countries find it very difficult to conduct successful censuses and obtain reliable population data.

6. Insufficient Census Experts

Another problem associated with conducting censuses in certain parts of the world is the insufficient number of professionals with the knowledge and experience of conducting a census. More often than not, governments of underdeveloped countries don’t have sufficient experienced census officers, demographers, and population experts to effectively handle the task of conducting population census.

As a result of this, these countries end up using inexperienced census officers to do the job. The end result of using people who are not experts to conduct an important exercise like the census is an efficient census that provides inaccurate population figures.

7. Insufficient and Ineffective Census Educational Campaign

How effective an educational campaign on the census is prior to the census taking place determines how successful the census exercise eventually becomes. Many times, certain countries cannot get accurate population figures through population censuses simply because intensive and effective educational campaigns on the importance of the census to the nation weren’t done before the census exercises.

When people become aware of the importance of population census, they are encouraged to make themselves available to be counted and cooperate with census officers to ensure a smooth census exercise that provides accurate population figures for the country.

8. Poor Demographic Maps

Because of demographic maps that aren’t reliable, it becomes very difficult for the authorities to know all the remote areas (especially the very remote areas) and conduct the census exercise. The problem with unreliable or poor demographic maps is that it results in some extremely remote villages not appearing on the maps. Such areas, therefore, end up not being visited by census officials.

Costs Continue to Be the Biggest Problem Associated With the Census

The above-mentioned issues are the most common reasons why certain countries (usually underdeveloped countries) cannot obtain accurate population census figures. Of all the above reasons, the massive costs involved in conducting census happens to be the biggest challenge that nations across the world have to battle with. Due to their very weak economies, many underdeveloped nations struggle a lot to get adequate funds to purchase inputs or logistics for a smooth census exercise. As a result, these countries find it very challenging to conduct successful censuses.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Rhema on September 21, 2020:

Nice website,it really helped me....a whole lot


Emma on August 19, 2020:

Thanks it is helpful keep it up but please solutions to this problems

Daniella on July 17, 2020:

Thanks,this really helped me

Prince on July 16, 2020:

Some solutions to this problems

Benjamin on July 07, 2020:


Aisha on July 02, 2020:

Thanks it was really helpful

Arinze ugwunwa on June 20, 2020:

Very useful

Thanks alot

bisola on June 18, 2020:


Akenji clarisse on May 20, 2020:


N= on April 27, 2020:


Erica Donkoh on April 15, 2020:

Please we need solutions to these problems

Nun on March 10, 2020:


David Davis on February 15, 2020:

Nice, I really needed that.

Oguntayo abigeal on September 06, 2019:

Inadequate facilities to sponsor census

bena on July 06, 2019:


Shamim on June 08, 2019:

what are the solution to this problems?

SOFIA on June 06, 2019:


Kasole Edward on March 06, 2019:

Your problems are limited to few

Ask goggle on February 11, 2019:

It is a very big lie

How on December 03, 2018:

Reference about physical problems faced census

Nanribet johnson pewat on November 27, 2018:

what is the secondary solution for that problems ,,,,,,Sir

Nanribet johnson pewat on November 27, 2018:

what is the secondary solution for that problems ,,,,,,Sir

#Mathias mak Uganda on November 21, 2018:

great work

Asif Iqubal Ahmed on November 18, 2018:

Plz sir give me another primary and secondary source of population data and its problems... Point wise... It is my humble request to you...

idris adamu on November 12, 2018:

what are the solution to this problem

Ogechukwu on November 11, 2018:

Thank you very much

Adeniyi Moyo on November 08, 2018:

Thanks even though I only needed one.

Gfresh on November 06, 2018:

what are the solution to this problem

Tonny on November 02, 2018:

Thank you

Ibrahim on September 23, 2018:

what are the solutions to these problems

anonymus on June 01, 2018:

what are the solutions for these problems

Bethel on March 19, 2018:

What are the solutions for these problems?

Onose Odigie on September 06, 2017:

Thank you

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