News

Web portal with in-depth access to census data launched

23 August 2018
The data generated through the new portal can be used for public and private planning and policy making, but also for investigative journalism, advocacy, democratisation and development.

A web portal that gives access to detailed data from the 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census was launched on 23 August, 2018.

The portal allows policymakers, local authorities, journalists, the private sector, academics, civil society and the general public to undertake their own in-depth analysis of census data. Unlike the aggregate census data that has already been published in a series of reports and tables, the web portal enables users to create their own queries, tables and graphics.

The results can be used for evidence-based planning, allocation of resources, and policy making, but also for investigative journalism, advocacy, democratisation and development.

Complementing the data tool is an interactive map that visualizes Myanmar’s significant geographical diversity when it comes to school attendance, literacy, employment and housing.

Data portal: www.dopredatam.gov.mm/

Interactive map: http://dopcensus.aceplusbeta.com/

The launch event also marked the public disclosure of microdata files. Microdata files represent individual records which contain detailed information about people, households and institutions, but which are encrypted to ensure confidentiality, and the privacy of individuals and families. The microdata is available in 10, 5 and 1 per cent samples upon request from the Department of Population: dopinformation@gmail.com and +95 67431356.

The portal launch event took place at the M Gallery Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw, where Janet Jackson, UNFPA Representative for Myanmar, delivered opening remarks.

 

Opening remarks by Janet Jackson, UNFPA Representative for Myanmar

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Mingalabar.

I would like to extend warm greetings to all of you this morning.

The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census project began over six years ago in 2012 with an agreement between the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations, signed here in Nay Pyi Taw for the UN by the then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Today we mark yet another evolution of how the data from the census is made publicly available: Public use microdata sample files and the Redatam software, which can be accessed both offline and on an interactive web-portal.

Even in a perfect world, it is virtually impossible to produce all conceivable tabulations combining all the variables collected in a census. This is why UNFPA has supported the Department of Population to produce the microdata sample files, with which users can produce their own tabulations. The microdata samples allow researchers, scholars and academics to undertake their own in-depth analysis of the census data. Now they can dig deeper into the census data and come up with new disaggregation of the data, and new findings that have not already been published. Microdata files represent individual records which contain detailed information about people, households and institutions, but which are encrypted to ensure confidentiality, and the privacy of individuals and families.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Access to census microdata is not a common occurrence in the world. Access to the microdata for free, as is the case today in Myanmar, is even more unique globally. In most countries, users have to pay a fee, if they can access the data at all. We therefore applaud the Department of Population for continuing with openness and service-orientation towards data users, and for listening to the advice of ITAB in regard to creating the 10 per cent, 5 per cent and 1 per cent microdata samples. The courage by Myanmar to put out up to 10 percent of microdata should be considered as a testament to the confidence of the credibility, reliability and robustness of the census data.

Another tool that we are launching today for a Myanmar audience is the Redatam software. Redatam is based on 100 per cent of the census data, and provides data down to the township level. It is a powerful tool that enables policymakers, local authorities, journalists, the private sector, academics, civil society and the general public to produce their own tables and cross-tabulations of census variables on their own computers, tablets and mobile phones. As long as you have internet connection, there is no excuse not to access and use census data. Indeed, Redatam can be used for evidence-based planning, allocation of resources, and policy making, but also for investigative journalism, advocacy, democratisation, humanitarian work and development. It can enable actors to map out disadvantaged populations in specific townships and use the data to address their needs, not least people living with disability, geographically disadvantaged people, women, girls and young people.

We congratulate the Department of Population and OneMap Myanmar for redesigning the web portal to host the Redatam software, an interactive map of census indicators, and all the other products produced from the census, including thematic reports tables in Microsoft Excel format. The new web portal is more dynamic and features a several interesting tools. The interactive map, for example, visualizes Myanmar’s significant geographical diversity when it comes to school attendance, literacy, employment and housing.

Distinguished guests,

The work on the census began in earnest in 2013, and for those of us who have worked with and supported the census project from the start, it has been quite a journey. The direction of the road has often seemed to go uphill more than downhill, making us work harder to reach the destination. But reach it we did. It has been a journey of highlights and it has its disappointments, not least the fact that more than one million people in Rakhine, over 69,000 in Kayin and almost 50,000 in Kachin were not enumerated. Even so, the census reached almost 98 per cent of the people in Myanmar.

I congratulate the Government and the people of Myanmar for having completed the enormous task of conducting a national census. It was not an easy undertaking. No census is. It was a massive physical, technical, logistical, statistical operation involving thousands of people in its making, with numerous specialists with experience of censuses in countries in different situations from across the world. From the start, the census was politically sensitive. I therefore recognize the donors who supported this through financing as well as technical assistance. It could not have been done without their involvement and partnership.

This was a huge exercise and it was time sensitive in that enumeration had to be completed in a two-week period. Enumeration therefore entailed the need to cover the largest ever country surface area in the history of census taking in Myanmar. As such, it stands as the largest source of data on the population and living conditions of the people in Myanmar.

Excellencies and invited guests,

These new tools and resources that are being launched today are a continuation of the dissemination of census data that has already taken place at the levels of State and Region, District and Township through workshops with stakeholders. The ambitious dissemination programme makes Myanmar unique. Most countries close their census projects after publishing the main results. The onus to optimize the use the census data, therefore, now rests with you: the data users. We encourage each one of you to take advantage of these free products and use them in your day-to-day work as you contribute to the transformation and the development of Myanmar.

Over the past six years of the census journey, Myanmar, with the support of the UN and other partners, has made impressive progress. The benefits of the census will carry over well into future generations.

The achievements stand as a credit to Myanmar, and not least the efforts to bring the data back to the people.

A greater wealth than ever before of census data is now publicly available. Nonetheless, the challenge remains the capacity of data users to understand the data. More has to be done to build this capacity at all levels, and to turn that knowledge into positive action, for the development of Myanmar, for all its people, so that no one is left behind.

As a way of concluding, I would like to once again thank OneMap Myanmar for the collaboration and support in further dissemination of the census data.

Thank you for your attention.