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Census 2012 - Preliminary report
Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTATS)
December 20, 2012

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1 Introduction

Census taking in Zimbabwe began as early as 1901 but was confined to the non- African population. The first enumeration of the whole population was done in 1961/62 and then in 1969. However, in these two censuses the African and non-African populations were enumerated at different times and using different questionnaires. The 1982 Census was the first census with a single reference period and the same questionnaire for the whole population.

After the 2002 Census, a number of population related or demographic surveys were undertaken within the framework of the Zimbabwe National Household Survey Capability Programme. These surveys include the 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 Demographic and Health Surveys and the 2007 and 2008 Inter-Censal Demographic Surveys.

1.1 Census Objectives and Procedures

The main objectives of a census are:

  • to provide current information on demographic and related socio-economic characteristics of the population at national and sub-national levels. Such information facilitates effective planning and evaluation of development programmes;
  • to provide and maintain a time series of demographic data at national and sub-national levels. These data enhance appraisal of the past, assessment of the present and estimation of future trends;
  • to develop the national capabilities to produce, coordinate and disseminate relevant, accurate and timely statistics to meet the information needs of various users;
  • to improve the capability to advise other users and producers of statistics; and
  • to develop and maintain an efficient sampling frame for surveys.

1.2 Initial Preparations

Preparations for the 2012 Census began in 2007 and one of the major preparatory activities for the 2012 Census was conducting of the 2007 Inter-Censal Demographic Survey which also acted as a pilot survey for the 2012 census.

1.3 Methodology

1.3.1 The de facto Concept

A population census can be taken either on a de facto or de jure basis. The latter involves enumerating people at their place of usual residence. The 2012 census however, was conducted on a de facto basis, relating to the night of the17th of August. This means that all those people who spent the night of the 17th /18th of August in Zimbabwe were counted, irrespective of their citizenship, nationality or residence status. Consequently, Zimbabweans who were out of the country on the census night were not counted.

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