On Preparation of Register-based Population and Housing Census
For the past ten years, Statistics Estonia has been preparing for the next population and housing census to be register based. In the ever-changing contemporary society, register-based census allows the government to constantly monitor its most important resource, the population, and to evaluate it quickly and from various aspects.
In order to make that possible, development of new technologies was required. There was also a need for new legislation, but first and foremost, cooperation between different authorities so that register data could be used appropriately. The cooperation has thoroughly boosted the development of Estonia as an e-state, as the register system that has been reformed and harmonised for register-based census, and tested and corrected during trial census, is a valuable asset on its own, enabling to decrease substantially the amount of red tape in every field of life. This also creates new possibilities, allowing for faster monitoring of other processes that are not part of the population processes explored in the census.
In future, comparability of data and better data quality should also be ensured, while the data quality of the registers is constantly monitored. Moving forward, it should also be possible to compare consecutive register-based censuses easily, as they generally would be based on the same methodology and data. As a result, it would be possible to evaluate population tendencies in the country with high precision.
The state is facing a challenge of bringing the quality of the national databases, data exchange environment, as well as data processing software to such a standard that it would be possible to conduct a yearly population and housing census on a smaller scale. This would fulfil tasks set by the government and the society.
This article is an introduction to the topic of register-based census in Estonia and describes the effectiveness of the work based on fulfilment of aims of the census. I believe that the most important criteria for conducting a register-based population and housing census in Estonia are met, the shortcomings being timeliness and reliability of the data on place of residence in the registers.