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Recent trend concerning Census : population registers (alternative approaches)
Humberto Moreira > Demographic Studies Review > INE, 2015, p. 41 - 51


It is essential to have statistical information on the resident population for the assessment of their volume, composition, distribution and changes of residence. The latter are related to the geographical variations of the migrant population, relative to the volume, composition and flows of origin / destination. These basic information for demographic studies and in particular to migration, come mainly from periodic population censuses3, surveys and administrative records. These are increasingly used, at least in Europe, for the population statistics, namely for the observation of internal and international migration.
Many countries have already led to practical data collection methods, alternative to the traditional census method, in which all individuals are contacted directly for the collection of demographic, social and economic information, by completing the population census questionnaires. Increasingly this individual information is collected through administrative records, which allowed more frequent
updating of data, usually on an annual basis. Population censuses, usually take place at intervals of
10 years.
For censuses around 2010-2011, in 39 European countries, almost half (17 countries) opted for an alternative approach to population censuses, in most cases based exclusively on population registers, such as Denmark, Austria and Finland, or in combination with other data sources (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy and Spain). Most European countries (21) still continue to use the traditional method of census, dwellings data collection, among which are Greece, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom. France used the “rolling census” over five consecutive years, in which municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants are surveyed completely and the
remaining municipalities in 8% of dwellings per year (40% in total). Altogether approximately 70% of the population was surveyed in France over five years. This method was developed to improve the frequency of published data and distribute the human and financial costs associated with the census. This method has been adopted only in France.

Keywords: Resident population, census, administrative population register, natural and migratory movements, change of residence, individual database, personal identity number.

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