The 2020 Population & Housing Census which was initially scheduled to be conducted next month has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is according to the Director of Central Statistics Raymond Phillips, who told BVI News he would like if it could be conducted before 2021.
He said: “It has not been cancelled but we have to delay it obviously with what’s going on … we don’t know for how long at this point in time, but the schedule is not the same.”
“We would have preferred if it was possible for us to get it done still this year, but this situation is unpredictable. That’s why when we do decide to put out an official statement, we will not be able to say when we will be able to actually do it,” he added.
Conducting census online maybe a reality
Considering the dangers and contagious nature of COVID-19, Director Philips said conducting part of the census online may be considered as an option moving forward.
“Internally, we have had discussions as to how something like that would work, having it done either via mail or online. But, again, we have not really discussed it in detail because it is an idea at this point,” he explained in a recent BVI News interview.
“But that is a possibility. We might not even have a choice. That’s the way that we might have to go because I think that’s the way the US is trying to get theirs done,” Philips further stated.
Flaws of an online survey
He, however, said there are some flaws associated with an online survey.
These include the inability of some residents to gain access to an internet connection, and skewed data resulting from inaccurate information provided.
“So we know that if we are going to go that route that we might have some challenges, but then again what would happen is that we probably would have to take an approach where it is not entirely done online and we would have to employ different methods to get full coverage,” Philips added.
The census is said to be the most crucial and comprehensive database made available to government, which reveals issues pertaining to various sections of the population and housing stock, which they can then investigate.
The last population census conducted in the BVI was a decade ago.