The Census Questionnaire

Detail of the questionnaire used during the Population and Housing Pilot Census in 2013. Photo by Pyay Kyaw Myint/UNFPA Myanmar/2013

 

The questionnaire is the main instrument used in census taking and when it is well-designed and used it captures data efficiently and effectively with minimal errors. The questionnaire used in the Myanmar census includes questions that capture the socio-demographic reality of Myanmar.

The information gathered from the questions provides the information needed to build a population profile of the country. Some examples of these questions and their relevant aspects are:

  • Name: The names of individuals are not used during the census data analysis (they are removed), however, in the process of enumeration, they are captured to make sure that no member of the household is enumerated twice or is omitted. The name also serves the purpose of verification of persons enumerated when the need arises. For example if the supervisor is making quality control checks.
  • Sex: This determines the proportion of males and females in the population. It is important to see how women versus men are fairing in various aspects of development.
  • Age: The age structure determines the needs of the population by age group and to project population growth. Having information about the country's age structure is necessary for policy formulation regarding the entire population and the requirements of age-specific groups.
  • Marital status: Marital status is significant because it has a strong relationship with the level of fertility.
  • Religion: Religion plays a major role in determining the moral code and behaviour of the members of any society. Religious beliefs can have far-reaching implications as far as priorities, sensitivities and way of life.
  • Township of birth and of usual residence: The answers to these questions provide information about the extent of internal migration which is key in a country as Myanmar, characterized by significant mobility.
  • Disability: Provides statistics of disabled persons which are useful for planning and implementing public policies aimed at improving the lives of people living with disability.
  • Educational status: This information is useful for assessing the literacy rate and the educational needs of the population.
  • Economic activity/employment status: This question tries to measure the size and composition of the labour force as well as the rates of employment, unemployment and underemployment in both formal and informal sector. The answers to these questions also reveal major economic activities of the population, hence giving the government an idea about the role of different sectors of the economy.
  • Housing questions: The answers to these questions show the proportion of the population living in conventional housing and also reflect the quality of housing. This information assists the government in calculating the social and economic needs of the population.
  • Deaths in the household during the last 12 months: This information gives estimates about the adult mortality rate and in particular the women who are dying from pregnancy related deaths, so that the government knows how many and where health facilities are needed.
  • Former members of household currently living outside Myanmar: The census inquired from members of households information on former members of their household who were living in a foreign country at the time of the census. This enables the country to estimate the number of people living or working in foreign countries.