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Census takers in talks to overcome gated community hurdles | Main stories

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The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has expressed concern that some gated communities may be excluded from the island’s 15th Population and Housing Census due to access issues.

STatin chief executive Carol Coy said the agency is working with strata managers and property managers to facilitate access to enumerators.

Without this permission, she said the gleanersuch Jamaicans would not be counted in the census, which is essential for the development of government policies on housing and welfare, among other issues.

In recent years there has been an increase in the construction of gated communities across the island.

Coy said census area officials are working closely with police and are avoiding communities where there are outbreaks of violence until some normality has returned.

“The people we use know those areas, so usually they can say it’s safe at this point or it’s not safe,” she said.

In cases where no one is home after repeated visits, a reminder card is left and households are referred to Regional Coordinators or Area Managers.

Coy said the last resort is to get the number of people living in the unit from a neighbor. However, this option could mean that other critical data is not collected.

The chief executive could not determine what percentage of census data has been collected since the start in September.

STATIN has set a year-end deadline, but Coy noted that the data collection period can be extended.

Data is collected by enumeration districts, which average 150 to 200 households.

“Completion is based on how a census taker surveyed an enumeration district. People are in their districts now, so they could finish maybe half, but it’s at the end of that list that we would assess where we are with the progress of the census,” Coy said.

She explained that enumerators are in the early stages of data collection and that STATIN has not yet assessed the general response of Jamaicans.

So far, no major incidents have been reported.

“We have regional coordinators and area managers on the ground, so when issues arise they can usually deal with them from that level. If it’s something bigger, they’ll step it up,” Coy said.

She added that there is a lack of enumerators, a situation not unique to Jamaica.

“At this point, I don’t know what percentage. We had aimed to train about 8,000 enumerators and supervisors, and I think we’ve trained about 7,000, and it’s an ongoing process. If there are shortages, our supervisors who are in the field can recruit and send those people to us at head office for us to process,” Coy said.

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