Statistical Institute Overcomes Challenges to Complete Population Census Data
The Statistical Institute (SIB) of Belize has been working against several issues to compile the data for the 2022 Population and Housing Census. Deputy Director General of the SIB, Miriam Willoughby explained that the Institute encountered problems from the outset, first the global pandemic pushing back the original 2020 launch, personnel issues and even Hurricane Lisa that hit Belize in November 2022. Despite all those issues, Willoughby says that the SIB is still pressing to meet its amended deadline for release of the preliminary population figures later this is year.
Miriam Willoughby, Deputy Director General, Statistical Institute of Belize: “From the recruitment, actually we had some challenges with even finding the number of interviewers that we needed for the census. We needed close to 700 interviewers. We started off with about half of that amount. And then during the census itself we had quite a number of persons dropping out of the census, finding other employment and so that caused a delay in the completion of data collection. What we had to do was have teams that were finished with one area we moved them to another area even if it’s outside of the district in which they were hired to work. So that’s how we managed to complete data collection. And that’s why data collection was so delayed. We had to pause work in Belize City and that’s the area where we had, I think, the most dropouts for the country. And so we had to pause there for at least about two weeks where we could not do any work because they were still cleaning up in the area and just for people to get settled back into their homes before we visited the areas again. So immediately following the hurricane we did an assessment of the areas that we had to put a pause on and areas where we thought we could continue. And that also added to the delay in completing the Belize City area. We’re still scheduled to publish some preliminary results especially the counts the population counts by district at the end of September. So we’re still targeting that date to have some preliminary counts or preliminary releases from the data, from the census.”
Following the preliminary population figures, the SIB will also be periodically releasing thematic reports from various areas of focus within the census in 2024. Willoughby noted that the SIB has managed to make strides in processing the census data while still ensuring that the other reports and statistics issued by the SIB are disseminated as per usual.