(CMR) The Population and Housing Census for 2020 conducted by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) initially scheduled for October 2020 has been postponed.
According to the ESO the exact date in 2021 is yet to be decided.
The ESO explained that concerns had been expressed that there would be challenges recruiting field staff, in addition to interacting with the cohort with the highest response rate – the elderly.
“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,” read a release sent out by the ESO.
Despite the initial concerns, the ESO said that 450 field staff had collected data during the two months exercise.
However, the ESO said it had taken the decision to stop the exercise, inline with recommendations by the United Nations (UN) on the population census which says that the conduct of censuses should be in ‘a normal year,’ to collect high-quality, usable data.
Unfortunately, the ESO said the year 2020 is contrary to this guiding principle due to the pandemic.
The ESO is committed to quality surveys used for data collection, collation, evaluation, and publication of the reports to the Cayman Islands residents and prospective investors.
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.
The ESO said that it 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.