A Population Census is the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analysing, publishing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining to all persons in a country at a specified time.
In Zimbabwe, census taking began as early as 1901 but was initially confined to Non-Africans only. The population was successfully enumerated for the first time in 1962, then in 1969 but at differing reference periods for Africans. The 1982 and 1992 censuses were the first censuses with a national coverage. The 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012 Censuses were conducted on a de-facto basis relating to the night of 17th/18th August. Similarly, the 2022 Population and Housing Census was also a de-facto basis, however the Census Night was 20th/21st April 2022. The 2022 Population and Housing Census was the fifth census after independence.
The main objective of the 2022 Population and Housing Census is to provide current information on demographic, social, economic and environmental characteristics of the population at national and sub-national levels. The data collected will be used for policy formulation, programme planning, monitoring and evaluation.
The specific objectives of the Population and Housing Census are to:
a) Determine rate of population growth;
b) Determine the present demographic, social, economic, environmental and cultural characteristics;
c) Measure the present size of the population of Zimbabwe, its spatial distribution among the provinces, districts and wards; and
d) Constitute an updated sampling frame for Zimbabwe.
The 2022 Population and housing Census was administered using Computer Aided Personal Interviewing (CAPI) technique. A tablet was used to capture the information directly for better accurancy and faster processing of data.
Population and Housing Census aims mainly at collecting and disseminating basic statistics including age, sex and relationship to head of household and other characteristics such as education and occupation at a specified period of time. The following are some uses of census data:
a) Formulation of policies and programmes: The census provides essential data pertaining to demographic, social, economic and environmental characteristics of the population and housing which can be used for planning and policy formulation.
b) Economic purposes: Census data is required to derive per capita indicators.
c) Estimating sources of labour force: The census is considered to be the main source of information related to the size of the labour force and its characteristics.
d) Research purposes: The census provides indispensable data for further scientific analysis and appraisal of the composition, distribution and past and prospective growth of the population.
e) Development of benchmark housing statistics: The census produces benchmark statistics on the current housing situation and is vital for developing national housing and human settlements policies and programmes.
Everyone can access Census results. The Census results are available to the public through the ZimStat website and publications. The 2022 Census results have been desserminated and available for use by anyone willing to do so.
Census Night is a statistical reference point or period for a census. That night signifies an imaginary snapshot of the population and housing status of the country at that point in time. Statistically. For census 2022, it was the midnight of 20th/21st April 2022. This assumes that all persons should have been enumerated at midnight of 20th/21st April 2022. It is therefore the reference point to the Census; all enumeration must relate to that night.
In Zimbabwe, Population and Housing Censuses are conducted every ten years in line with the international standards. Zimbabwe has so far conducted five census in 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012 and 2022. The net Census will be conducted in 2032.