Residents urged to help Omani census workers

MUSCAT — Officials have urged citizens and residents to extend their full cooperation to enumerators by providing accurate information as the ten-day ‘Census 2010’ began across the country on Sunday.

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Published: Mon 13 Dec 2010, 8:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 6:01 AM

The officials also underlined the vital importance of the data collected for future development planning.

The head count, estimated to cost RO15 million and touted as the most comprehensive yet, was launched by Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture and Chairman of the Supreme National Committee for Census, at a high-profile event attended by several ministers and other top dignitaries here on Saturday.

The authorities have deployed more than 6,500 data collectors and officials, equipped with high-tech devices, in the different governorates and regions. They will visit each and every home, collecting facts, including the names of the heads of families, number of family members, their dates of birth, educational level, social and economic status and occupation. The government has repeatedly assured the public that all information obtained would be kept confidential and would be only used for statistical purposes.

The 2010 ‘Census of Population, Buildings and Establishments’ stands out for being ‘the most environment-friendly’, for the enumerators will not be using paper. Instead, all information will be collected and stored in hand-held devices and instantly transmitted to computers at census centres in the various regions.

The exercise will be completed on December 21 and preliminary results will be announced a week after that. The final outcome will be unveiled on January 20. “It is very important that people cooperate with the enumerators and supervisors to ensure the mission’s success,” Sayyid Haitham said in remarks on Saturday. The guests were shown a documentary highlighting the importance of the project, especially for sectors such as education and health.

“Accurate and reliable data is the keyword in any development scheme, so the current census is a vital process for any future plan,” Macki said, also pointing out this was the first time that the census was being conducted simultaneously by the GCC states.

This is Oman’s third such exercise — the first two were in 1993 and 2003. The 2003 count placed the total population at 2.3 million, up from two million 10 years earlier, including some 700,000 expatriates. The figure is estimated to have reached 3.2 million now, mainly attributed to a steady inflow of expatriate workers in recent years, whose number crossed the one-million mark for the first time in December 2009.

Ali bin Mehboob bin Hasan Al Raisi, Director-General of Census, said maximum effort was made to make sure the results were “as accurate as possible.”

Dr Paul Cheung, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), described the census as a “valuable work and important project,” adding that the United Nations gave census a top priority.

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