The Population and Housing Census for 2020 conducted by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) initially scheduled for October 2020 has been postponed to October 2021. The exact date in 2021 is yet to be decided.
The ESO advised that they are committed to quality surveys used for data collection, collation, evaluation, and publication of the reports to the Cayman Islands residents and prospective investors. It is with the impetus to maintaining ESO’s guiding principles the postponement of the census was taken.
During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, they continue to value the safety of all residents, as well as the over 450 field staff who would have collected the data during the two months exercise.
The decision was taken to postpone the census due to the health risk to field workers and households, and the impact on families’ participation rates among other COVID-19-related factors.
A concern was that recruitment of field staff would have been challenging, as the older persons on whom we historically rely are less likely to work amidst the COVID-19 health risk. These persons also have historically higher response rates increasing their risk.
While this risk is now deemed less than a month ago, as evidenced in the latest changes to regulations that were announced on 25 August 2020, the risk to COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands is not yet zero, and the threat remains at Level Two, Minimal Suppression.
Likewise, logistical challenges in the recruitment and training of enumerators, field supervisors, and area coordinators in theory and practical application of the data capture methods were factored in the decision.
Furthermore, as recommended by the United Nations (UN) on the population census, the conduct of censuses should be in ‘a normal year,’ to collect high-quality, usable data. Unfortunately, the year 2020 is contrary to this guiding principle due to the pandemic.
The ESO believes that postponing Census 2020 will not negatively hamper the time analysis of the data, as the 2009 population and housing census was postponed to 2010 due to fiscal austerity, precipitated by the 2008 financial crisis.
Other regional countries with scheduled 2020 censuses which have postponed, or are considering postponing due to the current pandemic environment, include St. Lucia, Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas, and Barbados.
For further information, please call the Economics and Statistics Office hotline at 516-3329 or visit www.eso.ky.