Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística

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Study on the Modality of Continuous Population Census - EMCDC


The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - IBGE - undertakes the invaluable task of providing Brazil with information in order to portray its reality to the exercise of citizenship. Such mission is partially accomplished through the implementation of population censuses. Nowadays, just as other Statistical Agencies all over the world, IBGE finds itself in the middle of a dilemma: to produce more and better information in a context of budgetary restrictions and urgent need for results.

In order to improve its methodology as to the planning and execution steps of the population censuses, IBGE is committed to learning and assessing other methods than complete population counting, especially sample-based ones already used in the United States and France.

The project Study on the Modality of Continuous Population Census - EMCDC is a response to the current international discussion on the use of such methods which result from the challenge the National Statistical Agencies face to produce updated information, covering a variety of thematic and geographic details, at a reduced cost. Aware of the necessity of coping with those difficulties, IBGE implemented an initiative aiming at promoting the study and assessment of alternative methodologies for population censuses in the Brazilian context.

The project, started in 2004, has been carrying out activities that evaluate the technical and operational feasibility of the methodological change. The highlights are three international seminars made in partnership with the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI - Mexico), as well as participation in international meetings and forums on alternative modalities of censuses; technical visits to the National Institute INSEE (France); participation in forums on the future of Brazilian population censuses, including national activities as CONFEST/CONFEG, ABEP, among others.

The activities helped raising the discussion on the theme inside the Institute itself and, between 2004 and 2005, multidisciplinary workgroups (WG), which gather technicians from different IBGE branches, were organized in order to carry out the project. Given the complexity of the project, five workgroups were created, covering the different perspectives of each study:

  • WG – Census Geography and Frame and Master Address File;
  • WG – Conceptual Design;
  • WG – Sampling, Estimation and Accumulation of Information;
  • WG – Distribution of Local Units;
  • WG – Census-Surveys Integration.

Based on the information produced in the different thematic groups, an operational model was drafted, establishing guidelines for the implementation of a Pilot of the Continuous Census, conducted in the 2008-2012 period.

The final phase of the studies is scheduled for the end of the year 2014. Eventually, the restrictions and possibilities of implementing an Alternative Modality of Population Census in Brazil will be presented.