ELSTAT – Population census: Starts at the end of October – Coronavirus changes

After a decade and with the basic motto “We all count”, the time has come for the population census in Greece.

This is the census of population – housing 2021, which will begin at the end of the month and, due to the special period and the coronavirus, a new methodology had to be selected for its implementation.

Thus, in this year’s census, a part of it will be the electronic self-inventory, while for those who do not succeed with this method, the enumerator will visit them with the traditional method “door-to-door”, wearing the insignia of ELSTAT, having the identity and receiving all necessary measures to protect public health.

As the head of ELSTAT Athanasios Thanopoulos explains to APE – MPE, “the main procedure based on which the inventory will be implemented will be the electronic self-inventory. Between October 23 and mid-November, the approximately 60,000 enumerators will deposit a sealed envelope in each house, apartment or accommodation, with a unique code number corresponding to the specific residence (already from the building census that the researchers know in which parts of the country are houses located).

Then, a representative of the household will be able to enter the special application of the inventory through the digital portal www.gov.gr, using this unique code and his code in Taxis in order to complete the questionnaire for himself and the members of his household, as well as for his residence. A representative of the household is sufficient to carry out the procedure, the presence of all members of the household is not necessary. At each step, the enumerators can contact their enumerator by phone for questions / clarifications “.

The second step will run from November 27 to mid-December and will apply to those citizens who for any reason (eg unfamiliarity with new technologies) can not register themselves electronically. The ELSTAT enumerator will visit them to enumerate them with the usual “door-to-door” method, as happened in previous censuses. Citizens should be aware that all ELSTAT enumerators carry in addition to the police ID a special badge with the Statistical Authority mark in which their data are written as well as a definition form with their photo and a ELSTAT stamp.

They are also obliged to comply with all necessary measures to protect public health from the risk of further spread of COVID-19.

“The results of the census are a guide for the effective exercise of demographic, social and economic policy and cover a number of international obligations of the country, as the data are submitted to international organizations,” said Mr. Thanopoulos. He points out that one of the main results of the population census is to determine the number of seats and to form constituencies.

According to the head of ELSTAT, “it is crucial to determine through the census the permanent population of the country (the population that regardless of origin has its permanent residence in a region of Greece) and the legal population, ie the number of citizens in each Municipality and Municipal Unit “. It is clarified that the legal population has nothing to do with the law except with the Municipality in which the enumerators are registered.

Usually the fears of everyone who is enumerated are whether the data collected by ELSTAT is secure, where the data provided by the enumerators are transmitted and whether questions about religion or political beliefs are included or sensitive personal data is collected?

Mr. Thanopoulos is absolutely reassuring: “All data collected by ELSTAT in the context of the population-housing census or any other survey conducted by the National Statistical Service are confidential. The personal data collected by Statistics in the context of its responsibilities and the processes for which it is responsible, are not transmitted to any other public service, or private company, or in the European Union, or in countries outside the EU, or in international organizations. They are used exclusively for the production of aggregate statistical data by ELSTAT, while no sensitive personal data are requested or recorded by the enumerators “.

Thus, no data is collected on sensitive personal data (eg religious, political or philosophical beliefs, trade union action, racial or ethnic origin, sex or sexual orientation, health issues).

In order to obtain statistical information related to such issues, there are specially designed and targeted ad hoc surveys, which take into account a number of social parameters (eg approach to the surveyed, question design, implementation methodology) and require the cooperation of specialized enumerators and scientists who have in each case the required knowledge and experience to approach the specific population. And a key element is that the questions included in the population census questionnaire are explicitly provided for by current national and EU legislation.

For the older ones, Mr. Thanopoulos reminds that once there was a record of the de facto population, the population that was located on a specific day in the geographical territory regardless of whether he lived permanently in the country or was temporarily in it e.g. for tourism or leisure purposes etc. In the case of the de facto population, individuals were counted wherever the enumerator located them, e.g. on a boat / plane, at a friend’s house, in a hotel, etc. Now things have evolved and the population of the country is counted according to his permanent or usual residence.

It is noted that in the current period ELSTAT completes the inventory of buildings, which is a preparatory stage and guide to the population-housing census, as based on this Statistics is able to know among other things where are located throughout the country houses in which the population lives.

In this context, 12,500 private researchers (heads of departments) of ELSTAT visit one by one the buildings across the country, in order to count them and record their main characteristics. The variables that interest ELSTAT and for which the administrator or the owner or the occupant of a building may be asked, refer to the construction period and its use, if it has an elevator, if it is accessible to the disabled, etc. In no case is any information related to properties, sq.m., or violations of urban planning legislation requested.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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