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RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim said the 2022 Saudi census is ahead of schedule, with 35% of addresses already registered since the start of the first phase on 26 January.

In 11 days, 14,000 field researchers completed 35 percent of the address update phase, Al-Ibrahim reported during his visit to the General Statistics Authority on Sunday.

“The desired outcome is to achieve 95% or more coverage in 30 days,” Al-Ibrahim told Arab News. “It is a very difficult task, but we believe that with everyone’s support, we will achieve this goal.

“Our latest figures are from 2010. We are now in 2022 and they need to be updated,” the minister said. “Our society and everything it wants to achieve depends on it. The goal is to send the right message so that everyone cooperates with researchers in the field.

“We currently have 14,000 field researchers; by May, we’ll have 40,000. The project entered its first phase of data collection, called “address prospecting,” on January 26. This is considered an essential step towards an accurate and efficient census.

Field staff have started cataloging all inhabited and uninhabited housing units in the Kingdom and placing smart census stickers, each fitted with a unique QR code that will link the housing unit to its respective head of household .

“The 2022 Saudi census is a fully digital census, and the Kingdom’s modern digital infrastructure will help achieve this,” the minister said. “An option will be made available for self-enumeration whereby it will be possible to complete a census form electronically through the authority portal without the field researcher needing to visit the household. “

The Saudi census, which GASTAT conducts every 10 years, is a key pillar in the planning and policy-making needed to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, according to Al-Ibrahim.

Al-Ibrahim told Arab News that more than 25 government agencies are involved in the census operations, including the ministries of interior, health and education and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority.

With their help and the use of other modern technologies, such as satellite imagery, the Minister said that the data collected on the population will be accurate, detailed and complete.

“We are counting on our people to do this in the most precise and thorough way possible, because we are counting on them for the success of this census, and we thank them for it. This is a great opportunity for everyone to be a cog contributing to the achievement of Vision 2030,” said Al-Ibrahim.

He added that apps like Absher and Tawakkalna significantly help collect the data needed for the census while remaining committed to respecting the privacy of individuals.

“Preservation of privacy, security and safety are the most important principles we have in the census,” Al-Ibrahim said, explaining that GASTAT applies the highest levels of privacy and confidentiality related to the identity of individuals and prevents the disclosure of individual data in any way. .

It also undertakes not to share the information collected with third parties.

The minister said all pandemic restrictions and protocols are being strictly followed and monitored in all areas while the census data is being collected.

Most countries conduct a full census every 10 years to obtain accurate and detailed population data, including where people live and their social and economic characteristics. Accurate statistical data of this type enables managers, planners and decision makers to allocate budgets and develop comprehensive strategies that will keep pace with urban development. It will also meet future needs based on projected population growth, contribute to development plans, and provide public services such as education, health, and transportation.

According to GASTAT, the last general census of population and housing in the Kingdom took place in 2010, and the total population at the time was 27,136,977.

Last September, GASTAT conducted a pilot census covering seven Saudi cities in Tabuk, AlUla, Makkah, Asir, Diriyah, Riyadh and Eastern Province. The census aimed to test the form as well as the work tools to be used within the framework of the general population and housing census.

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