Fiji Time: 6:44 AM on Thursday 22 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Archives » Article Index

Census scrutiny

Nasik Swami
Thursday, March 08, 2018

A SENIOR academic has questioned the credibility of the 2017 Fiji Population and Housing Census after the Fiji Bureau of Statistics said yesterday that its enumerators had not collected reliable data on ethnicity.

Professor Vijay Naidu of the University of the South Pacific's School of Government, Development and International Affairs, said the bureau's comment on the issue was "mind-boggling".

The bureau stated in a statement yesterday that there were anomalies in the way data on ethnicity was collected during the 2017 census.

As a result, the bureau stated the anomalies had "severely compromised the objectivity and completeness of the data set on ethnicity".

In a statement uploaded on the bureau's website on Monday, Government statistician Epeli Waqavonovono said this led to no reliable collection of data on ethnicity in the 2017 census.

Prof Naidu said based on the statement, one could ask questions about the accuracy of all the other data the bureau had collected.

"It is apparent that the enumerators were not very well trained," he claimed.

"When you do a census, you want to make sure that your enumerators fully understand the work that they are supposed to do and in all seriousness, ethnic breakdown is a crucial dimension of census data collection in a multiethnic society."

Prof Naidu said census data needed to be consistent across all the questions that was being asked and the data collected and analysed.

He said it was intriguing that this particular category on ethnicity had so many problems associated with it.

The bureau stated there was a question on ethnicity posed in the census questionnaire, but no data on ethnicity could be accurately aggregated or released as part of the 2017 census.

"However, during our review of the data and methods of collection, we uncovered a number of anomalies in the way data on ethnicity was collected that severely compromised the objectivity and completeness of the data set on ethnicity," the statement read.

"It was found that many enumerators failed to verbally ask for the respondent's ethnic background.

"Instead, the data was collected based on the enumerator's observed assumption of the respondent's ethnicity.

"Many enumerators also assumed the entire household's ethnicity based on one household member, failing to account for households with multiple ethnicity."

The statement stated that it was also reported by enumerators that many respondents refused to disclose their ethnic background.

"Fortunately, we have not seen these issues in the collection of any other data sets as part of the 2017 census.

"The remaining unreleased data from the 2017 census is still being aggregated and will be released in due time."

In January, Mr Waqavonovono had said the bureau would only release data on ethnicity from the 2017 census if it was instructed to do so.

"What people should be expecting all the time is whatever the bureau releases is what is available," Mr Waqavonovono said.

He said data on ethnicity had been collected during the counting process.

"We did ask about people's ethnicity, but the decision to release it has to come from higher authority. Once we are instructed then we will release it," Mr Waqavonovono had said.

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64740.6284
JPY 53.386250.3862
GBP 0.35270.3447
EUR 0.40460.3926
NZD 0.69590.6629
AUD 0.64750.6225
USD 0.49700.4800



Exchange Rate updated on 21st, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Deadly disease
  2. SGS junior has fastest 100m time
  3. Veremalua wants another gold, a win for his daughter
  4. Free education clarification
  5. SJSS take two
  6. Datt declares NFP support
  7. Home for widow
  8. Police question 13year old for rape
  9. Simpson wins it for Grammar
  10. Drop-outs return to school

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sims' 100th game Thursday (15 Mar)
  2. Meningococcal disease outbreak Tuesday (20 Mar)
  3. Men urged to marry Thursday (15 Mar)
  4. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  5. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  7. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  8. Baravilala's ode to Cessna victims Thursday (15 Mar)
  9. A star in the making Thursday (15 Mar)
  10. 12 dead by disease Tuesday (20 Mar)