Qatar starts population census; Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to follow next week

April 21, 2010

Qatar has launched a two-week population census that will allow the country to have a peek into its future.

The census, under the supervision of the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) on Tuesday night, will be the largest conducted in the country.

In a move, over 3,000 field surveyors were at the airport, port and land border crossings as well as hotels to have a head-count of people leaving the country.

“This head-count is important because we want to know how many people were in the country when the census began and how many left on that day,” Shaikh Hamad Bin Jabor Bin Jassem Al Thani, QSA President, said. “Visitors, expatriates as well as citizens leaving the country will all be counted.”

Shaikh Hamad said that 7,000 families had registered online to take part in the census and that they would be given passwords through SMS and emails to access the online census forms.

Field staff will start visiting homes after the April 26 deadline of the e-forms. They also visit labour accommodations and report on their conditions, the QSA chief said.

A workshop will be held one month following the conclusion of the last phase of the census on May 5 in which local, regional and global experts will look into ways to use the collected data.

The count of the buildings and commercial establishments’ census completed earlier has revealed that entertainment facilities such cinema halls have more than doubled over the past six years in Qatar, while educational and health-care facilities have risen in number in relatively smaller percentages.

The QSA said cinema halls and theatres have increased by 111.3 per cent since the last census was conducted in 2004. The second largest growth was in the number of hotels (109 per cent), followed by bank branches (51 per cent). On the whole, the number of buildings went up by 50 per cent in the country since 2004.

Schools have gone up 19 per cent, while the number of mosques and hospitals has increased by seven per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively over the past six years,

Qatar is the first GCC country to begin the census as part of a regional effort, Shaikh Hamad said.

In Bahrain, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, the cabinet affairs minister, said that the population census would be launched on April 27.

“The government has earmarked BD1.6 million for the eighth national census,” he said. The data will be analysed between July and November and will be published in December, the minister said.

Saudi Arabia is gearing up for its fourth national census of population and housing scheduled to begin on April 28 by giving intense training to the 43,000 enumerators. More than 300 training centres were set up in Riyadh, the capital.

In Makkah, 10,000 enumerators are being trained in more than 100 centres on how to fill in the 59-point questionnaires, how to do their job and how to deal with families.

“The census in Makkah will begin in the evening of next Tuesday with the counting of the number of worshippers inside the Holy Mosque and the number of people entering or exiting the region through naval, land and air-entry points,” Ibrahim Ibn Mohammad Al Humaizi, the supervisor of the census in Makkah region, was quoted as saying by Arab Times. “All real estate units consisting of accommodation and commercial buildings were numbered last month as part of the census.”

According to Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia conducted the first official census in 1974 when the Kingdom’s population was 7,009,466 of whom 6,218,361 were Saudis.

The second census was carried out in 1992 and showed that the total population was 16,948,388 including 12,310,053 Saudis while the third national census organized in 2004 indicated that the total population had reached 22,678,262 with the number of Saudis standing at 16,527,340.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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