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Linking Population and Housing Censuses to the Agricultural Censuses

Introduction

In many countries, agriculture is among the most vital and dominant sectors of the economy. While most countries with a substantial agricultural sector try to undertake an agricultural census (AC) periodically, the tremendous fiscal and resource burden required to conduct the population and housing censuses (PHC) force compromises to the periodicity of an AC. Given that agriculture is a dominant sector engaging most of the population in many low- and middle-income countries, the lack of timely agricultural statistics inhibits development, affects food supply, and prevents policymakers from addressing the infrastructure needs of farmers. Historically, it has been argued that the PHC and the AC cannot be linked because their units of enumeration are different—households compared with farm holdings. But recent evidence from ACs show that most of the agriculture is household-based in countries that have a substantial agricultural sector (FAO, 2012). Thus, since the 2010 round of censuses, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among other UN organizations, recommended linking PHCs with ACs to maximize synergies to benefit both efforts.

Coordinating the two types of censuses is an improved strategy that maximizes efficiency in costs and improves data quality and analysis. The challenges of cost and periodicity can be addressed through good planning, questionnaire content, and advances in technology.

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