EDITORIAL: Let's Use Census Data For Development
6/4/2012 4:00:51 PM -
After a long period of waiting and a series of postponements, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has eventually released the final results of the 2010 Population and Housing Census.
The release of the results is extremely significant, in view of the critical need for the collection of relevant data for effective national planning and development.
It is, therefore, the expectation of the DAILY GRAPHIC that our development planners, economists, academics, various institutions and individuals will make very good use of the census data to promote national development.
We envisage that one of the areas where the data will be most useful is political organisation in respect of the demarcation of new districts and constituencies, allocation of resources to the districts, compilation of the voters register, political party activism and electioneering.
The DAILY GRAPHIC advises the public to avoid the tendency of misinterpreting or manipulating the census data to achieve parochial interests or using them in any manner that will undermine national cohesion, unity and peace.
For instance, there is no need for people to make a fuss about which religion, region, tribe or sex is more dominant than the others just for the purpose of claiming significance in the scheme of things.
Although the conduct of the census was fraught with many challenges from the onset, even up to the point of releasing the final results, the DAILY GRAPHIC finds it appropriate to commend the management and staff of the GSS for their dedication and commitment to ensure the success of the exercise.
We also wish to commend the approximately 50,000 enumerators and supervisors who were deployed throughout the country, even in areas very difficult to access, to conduct the exercise, as well as all Ghanaians and foreigners who availed themselves for enumeration.
More importantly, we wish to express gratitude to the government and the country’s development partners for making substantial financial contributions to the successful conduct of the census.
The 2010 Population and Housing Census is the fifth to be conducted in post-independence Ghana and, like all the previous censuses, it could not have been executed without challenges. The most significant thing, however, is for the GSS to draw useful lessons from those challenges to improve future censuses.
In this regard, we urge the service to improve on the time frame for the release of census results in order to make the use of the data more meaningful.
We believe releasing the results almost two years after the conduct of the census is not good enough because by the time the results are released, the demographic dynamics may have changed and so the data may not be very useful for development planning as anticipated.
Again, the delay in the release of the final results has the tendency of fuelling suspicion of manipulation of figures, as experienced in the case of the 2010 Population and Housing Census.
Ghana faces many development challenges, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and so it is imperative to use census data positively to close our development gap.
Once again, we say ayekoo to all those who contributed in diverse ways to make the conduct and release of the 2010 Population and Housing Census successful.