By Lindsey Turnbull
Beginning on the 10th October 2021 and taking place over the following two months, Census 2021 will see around 450 census workers going door-to-door to accumulate vital data on every household’s inhabitants, as they count each resident and ask pertinent questions as to all who live here. Every ten years the Census is carried out to compile vital statistics about how we live in the Cayman Islands and this year the information accumulated through the survey of every resident will help shape Government policy in every walk of life, according to Premier Wayne Panton, who spoke at the launch event held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on Wednesday.
Calling the launch of the Census a “milestone in trying times”, Premier Panton said, once completed, Census 2021 would provide a comprehensive and current data set concerning Cayman’s population.
The last Census was collected in 2010 and with Government data still based upon that information collected a decade ago, Premier Panton welcomed the new data from Census 2021, as it would assist those involved in Cayman’s socio-economic development, providing current information on key characteristics of Cayman’s population. The data would also be a value tool to plan for the future of the Cayman Islands, helping the public and private sector make decisions underpinned by current statistics.
The statistics gathered, as they related to the current pandemic, would be invaluable.
“There can be no better example than our current need to have a more accurate indication of our population so we can more precisely assess the percentage of our actual vaccinated population,” he said and confirmed Government was currently working from assessments based upon 2010 data in this crucial area.
Accurate numbers mean resilience
The results of the 2021 Census would help provide information with regard to job loss and help Government shape employment policy; they would help Government see how the economy had changed over the past decade and help it to see how it could diversify to strengthen the economy further, he said, adding that it would provide a baseline for tracking future results of their interventions.
The data would also be key when Government made decisions on planning and would help inform them on the ongoing update of the development plan.
“As we strengthen and diversify the economy and ensure that our built environment is meeting the needs of current and future generations, we must also be sure that the vulnerable members of our community are able to access services and assistance they need,” Premier Panton advised.
The Census would give them data such as socio-economic, demographic and housing, to help them target the help people needed in these areas. Premier Panton said the Census would give them information on people in demographics such as the elderly, disabled, veterans, those with food security issues and those with health issues.
The information would not just help Government in this regard, but also the many community-based organisations better understand and therefore better serve the needs of the public.
Not just another statistical collection, the Census was an important tool that would provide current statistical data to inform and support policies, programmes and initiatives across all sectors and throughout all communities, Premier Panton said.
Deputy Premier Christopher Saunders said that, with businesses across the board being affected by new technologies and innovation, there was never a more important time for Government to base their policies on accurate information. Without accurate information Government could not make informed decisions, he confirmed.
The 2021 Census would compile data on population demographics, age distribution, disability and health insurance, school attendance and educational attainment, as well as questions on mortality, crime, immigration and, for the first time, they will be including questions on food security, the Deputy Premier advised, giving the Government a better insight into poverty levels in the Cayman Islands.
“This Government is committed to ensure that no person in these islands go to bed hungry,” he said.
Governor calls for support
Governor Martyn Roper is the patron of the National Census and he said he proudly supported the 2021 Census and encouraged every resident to do the same.
Underscoring the crucial role accurate data played, the Governor revealed:
“The importance of the Census was discussed in Cabinet yesterday when we were talking about the data required to help us respond to this global pandemic.”
This current data would help steer a path of continued improvement for the Cayman Islands, he said, calling the delivery of the Census “an enormous but essential task” requiring a spirit of cooperation which would enable the Government to successfully deliver it. It was heartening to learn that the last census in 2010 received roughly 99% participation and the process was very seamless indeed, he confirmed.
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Census 2021 facts
• 10th October 2021 will start the counting process
• All those living in Cayman consecutively or intending to stay for six months will be counted
• The last Census in 2010 counted 55,036 residents
• The 2021 Census will provide information on the age, gender, nationality, employment and education of residents
• The Census is run by the Economic and Statistics Office and all information is confidential