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Statistical Institute prepares for Census; to assist with redistricting process

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Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2022. 10:39 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The decennial census is one of the Statistical Institute of Belize’s most important priorities – every ten years, every Belizean man, woman and child in the country is counted.

After two postponements in as many years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Director General of the Institute Diana Castillo-Trejo said they will be ready for this May: “We are on track. we’re on schedule with our preparations for the census. We are, right now, in the second week of our first round of training. We’re doing our training of trainers last week and this week. That is on schedule. We have our training of field supervisors going to be taking place in March and then we will be training our 700-plus interviewers in April. Households can expect that we will be out in the field for data collection around the middle of May. Census Day is May 12. So after that, they can expect to see our data collectors out in the field.”

Director Castillo-Trejo acknowledged that even with COVID concerns, face-to-face interviews are integral to a successful count, and so interviewers will come fully protected and practice national protocol: “They will be equipped properly with their PPE, use their masks, their face shields. They will be – they have their own health and sanitation procedures that they will need to do, as they move from one hotel to the next. They will not be very close to any of the respondents. They have to maintain a certain distance when they are conducting the interviews. So, I want to encourage households, when our staff visits your home to cooperate with them. We are taking every measure possible to ensure that is done safely and quickly so that we’re not out in the field for an extended period of time.”

And one of the first entities to see the preliminary data from the Census will be the Redistricting Task Force which will be conducting its analysis of electoral divisions. According to Castillo-Trejo, “Our first count of the population data will be around the end of this year. We’ll be publishing those. I know that they may also want some assistance with mapping, because, in preparation for the census, we have some extensive work on mapping, including the collection of data on building footprints for the entire country. So I believe that we would want some assistance on that. Beyond that, we just stand ready to assist wherever it is that we can lend some assistance to that activity.”

Belize’s population is estimated to be close to 450,000 at present.

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