Census Considered a Success

Cambodia’s first census in 36 years ended Thursday with organizers declaring it a success.

“I am very impressed with all the staff all down the line,” N Rama Rao, chief technical adviser to the census, said Thursday.

A team of international ob­servers in Cambodia to verify that the census was conducted by in­ternational standards had proclaimed the counting “excellent,” Rao added.

Lor Chandara, press officer for the census, said 80 percent of the questionnaires were filled out by Monday, six days after the pro­cess began.

The census employed an army of 25,000 enumerators and an additional 8,000 supervisors who spread out to every corner of the country except those declared unsafe.

Some incidents of fraud, where alleged enumerators asked families for money, were reported before the census began, but no incidents were reported during the census, Lor Chandara said.

The field work is finished but the arduous task of compiling the data is just beginning, according to organizers. More than 2 million questionnaires in 25,000 boxes will be collected at the Na­tional Institute of Statistics, where the data will be compiled, edited and verified over the next 13 months.

Sixty computer operators will work in two shifts inputting the data on 60 computers in the first phase, according to a press re­lease. In the second phase, a further 40 workers will edit and verify the information.

Provisional census results, in­cluding provincial population numbers broken down by gender, will be available in July. But more specific information will be re­leased in increments until the final report in April 1999.

About 45 tables will be compiled and available in user-friendly computer applications. Databases will be set up and access made available to government minis­tries.

Organizers stress that at no time will names of respondents be entered into the database—in keeping with a royal decree guaranteeing the confidentiality of the census. Names were only asked for verification purposes, according to the press release.

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