May 28, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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The 2021 Census accurately maps our population

The 2021 Census accurately maps our population


What is the population of the Netherlands? What characteristics does each individual have? For example, what is your gender, age and marital status? These are examples of questions that can be answered by enumeration. CBS takes care of our country's censuses. In fact, the census phenomenon is the foundation of CBS, he says Schulte Nordholt, Project Leader and International Coordinator of the Main Directorate of Social, Economic and Spatial Statistics (SER). CBS was founded for the census In 1899 Make it possible. It then evolved into a CBS tradition every ten years.

Government support

“The purpose of the census is to support governments with data,” he continues. Schulte Nordholt. “For example, how many schools, hospitals and care homes are needed? If the government makes decisions on this, it is important that there is good proof. World War II This need has also arisen at the European level. for this reason 27 member states Subordinate European Union (European Union) submits its population census to Eurostat every ten years. For example, countries can see how they compare to each other in certain regions. What are we doing well and what could be better? Data is also of great value to EU policy.

Population register

Countries provide data on the same topics and do so according to the same principles. However, the method of collection may vary, he says Schulte Nordholt. “In the Netherlands we have a good infrastructure with registrations available in CBS that can be linked together, the Social Statistical File System (SSB).” The backbone consists of the municipal personal records database (BRP), the population register, so to speak. For example, it shows each person's date of birth and whether they are married or not. Data on the living situation in the Netherlands are also available digitally in the registers and are used for the following purposes: Population Census 2021. Partly for this reason, we can get the job done with a smaller team than other countries. Statistical staff there visit people at home to review questionnaires. Or the lists are mailed, and completed copies are then scanned.'

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Professions and education

The 2021 Census also contains information about occupations and education. A statistical researcher says that sources other than the BRP have been used for this purpose Erin Quinn. CBS continuously conducts the Employment Force Survey (EBB). About one percent of the working population provides information about their occupation and the education they received in this way. For the topic of training, we supplemented training data from the records of the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and the Education Executive Agency (DUO), among others, with training data from the EBB. On the subject of the careers we had – the next the receding – No additional data is available. Therefore, we gave weight to the limited number of data on occupations. This allowed this data to be transformed into a representative picture of the entire population.

New laws

The path to conducting a census roughly consists of two stages: preparation and implementation. Schulte Nordholt About the first part: 'The census is based on European legislation. In the years leading up to the actual measurement, minimum requirements were defined for the countries that the next census should meet at European level. For example, what variables, tables, and classes should be included? What quality should the data be? On behalf of CBS, I recently participated in defining new rules.

Census day

In 2021, the laws regarding the census for that year were known. That was the official date January 1, also known as “Census Day.” After the adoption of the new laws, a team was formed within the Central Department of Statistics to conduct the census. Since then, five employees have been meeting weekly to coordinate progress, while approximately 5 employees have been meeting weekly to coordinate progress 25 colleagues Start implementing sub-projects. Eric Schulte Nordholt And Martin de Mooij The project leaders were.

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© Sjoerd van der Hoecht


The 2021 Census includes a number of updates. Population numbers in 1 km areas are now also taken into account. Schulte Nordholt: 'It is common to measure the population of a municipality, region or province. But its limits can change. Take the example of merging municipalities, which increases the population of the municipality. If this happens between the two censuses, you will not be able to compare the data. The 1 km area is immutable and has no boundary corrections; That is why the census is now being conducted on this scale.

Better comparisons

“A one-kilometre grid of squares has been laid out across Europe,” Schulte Nordholt explains. “They are in the Netherlands.” There are 39829. This also allows for better comparisons within Europe. France, for example, almost did so 35,000 municipalities And the Netherlands Not 350; Our average municipality has a much larger population. Hence it sometimes makes more sense to compare squares to each other than to municipalities.

XY coordinates of the house

Based on the address data, CBS used the XY coordinates of each Dutch person's home. They are combined into squares. Quinn: One kilometer by one kilometer is a small area; Sometimes only a few people live there. That's why we pay so much attention to preventing the disclosure of information about individuals. This way we avoid, for example, the possibility of returning the country of birth to an individual in the box.

Combine dimensions

Another eye-catcher in Population Census 2021 she 41 tables Where many “dimensions” are combined. Each table has a different combination of dimensions. Quinn: “An example of this is a table where you can see how many men have a certain occupation and a certain age in a certain area. 32 tables It relates to people and others relate to families or homes. The tables have on average slightly fewer dimensions than the previous census tables, but the most important innovation concerns the method used to construct the tables.'

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Reliable image

“With very detailed tables, there is a risk that the data can be traced back to the population,” Quinn says. “This must be prevented.” Therefore, in the previous census, some data were not published, which was a great shame for users. This time we were able to publish more detailed data in the tables. We've adjusted some data up or down a little bit. Furthermore, some individuals with certain characteristics have switched geographic regions. In terms: To avoid detection we added noise. The tables do not reveal individual data to anyone and provide a reliable picture of people, families and households in the Netherlands.