Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2022. 10:39 p.m. CST.
By Aaron Humes: The decennial census is one of the most important priorities of the Belize Institute of Statistics – every ten years, every Belizean man, woman and child in the country is counted.
After two postponements in as many years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute’s acting director general Diana Castillo-Trejo said they will be ready for this month of May: “We are on the right track. way. we are on schedule with our preparations for the census. We are currently in the second week of our first training lap. We did our training of trainers last week and this week. It’s on time. We have our field supervisor training taking place in March, and then we will be training our 700+ interviewers in April. Households can expect us to be in the field for data collection around mid-May. Census day is May 12. So after that they can expect to see our data collectors in the field.
Director Castillo-Trejo acknowledged that even with COVID concerns, face-to-face interviews are an integral part of a successful count, and therefore investigators will come fully protected and apply national protocol: “They will be properly equipped with their PPE, will use their masks, face shields. They will be – they have their own health and sanitation procedures that they will need to follow when moving from hotel to hotel. They will not be very close to any of the respondents. They should keep a certain distance when conducting the interviews. So I want to encourage households, when our staff come to your house, to cooperate with them. We are taking all possible steps to ensure this is done safely and quickly so that we are not out in the field for an extended period of time.
And one of the first entities to see the preliminary census data will be the Redistricting Task Force, which will conduct its analysis of electoral districts. According to Castillo-Trejo, “Our first population count will take place towards the end of this year. We will publish them. I know they may also want some help with mapping, because in preparation for the census we have a lot of mapping work, including collecting building footprint data for the entire country. So I think we would need help in that regard. Beyond that, we are just ready to help wherever we can help with this activity.
The population of Belize is estimated at nearly 450,000 at present.
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