Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram

PHC interview: Short notes on Population and Housing Census in Ghana

Listen to this article

Interviewing of shortlisted field officers of the 2021 Population and Housing Census is ongoing. This article seeks to provide brief information of the census so that applicants can be abreast with the needed information before the interview.


Population Censuses have been conducted in Ghana at approximately ten-year intervals since 1891. Ghana has conducted five population Censuses after independence – 2010 was the last. The last two Censuses (2000 and 2010) combined Population and Housing in one operation.

The last Census conducted in 2010 recorded a total population of 24.7 million. Ghana will conduct its third Population and Housing Census (PHC) this year with data collection scheduled for the first half of 2021. Field work for the 2021 PHC is scheduled to begin on 13th June 2021, with 27th June 2021 as Census Night

What is a Population Census?

A Population Census is the complete enumeration of all persons in a country at a specified time. The enumeration also implies the collection, compilation, evaluation, analysis, publication and dissemination of demographic, social and economic statistics relating to the population.

What is a Housing Census?

A Housing Census is the complete enumeration of all living quarters (occupied and vacant) in a country at a specified time.

Main rationale of Census

The main rationale for conducting periodic Censuses is to update the socio-demographic and economic data in the country and ascertain the changes that have occurred in the population structure since the last Census.

The essential features of a Population and Housing Census

The 2021 Population and Housing Census of Ghana will follow all the essential features of a modern Population and Housing Census as recommended by the United Nations (UN). This is because it is upon this basis that Ghana can compare her data with those of other countries.

The features as recommended by the UN are:

a) Each individual and each living quarter must be enumerated separately;
(b) The Census operation must be confined to a well-defined territory, must cover all persons present or reside in the territory and nobody in this defined territory must be enumerated more than once or omitted. The housing Census must include every living
quarters irrespective of type;
(c) The Census must be conducted at regular intervals;

Census Night

The Census night is a statistical reference point or period for a Census. It signifies an imaginary snapshot of the population status of the country at that point in time. Statistically, it is midnight of the Census Night date (27th June 2021). This assumes that all persons should have been enumerated at midnight of 27th June 2021. It is therefore the reference point to the main Census; all enumeration must relate to that night.

Persons to be enumerated during the 2021 PHC

The following persons must be enumerated during the 2021 PHC:

  1. All persons who spent the Census Night in a household in Ghana;
  2. All persons who spent the Census Night in an institution (Group Quarters) in Ghana; and
  3. All persons who were in transit in Ghana (floating population) on Census Night.

Persons not to be enumerated during the 2021 PHC

The following persons must not be enumerated:

  1. All persons who did not spend the Census Night in Ghana;
  2. All persons born after the Census Night; and
  3. All persons who died before the Census Night.

Why are we conducting the 2021 Census?

A Population and Housing Census has many uses. In the first place, it will give us the total number of persons and housing types and their characteristics in every town or village or a given small area in the country. This information will be of great help to the Central and Local Governments in planning various educational, health, housing, and other social services. The information that will be derived from the Census will also help the private sector, including businesses to plan their activities, which will be of benefit to the economic development of this country. In addition, international bodies, including Development Partners (DPs) and Non-Governmental Organizations will also utilize the Population and Housing Census data when planning for Ghana.
Since the last Census in 2010, there have been many changes in the structure of the population. In this regard, there is a need for a Census to update the socio-demographic and economic data in the country and ascertain changes that have occurred in the population structure since 2010.

The Census Process

Census taking involves three main stages

a) Pre-enumeration Phase:

Good planning and advance preparation are vital to the success of every Census. All resources (human, logistics, technology, etc.) necessary for the conduct of the Census must be planned for so that the Census will be carried out at the appropriate time and sequence. During this stage all major decisions about the Census are taken, for instance, the geographical or mapping work and preparation of documents and other such activities are undertaken.

b) Enumeration Phase:

This is the stage where the required data are collected from the people who make up the population of the country. A number of carefully planned procedures and methods are set in place which direct Census staff exactly how the required information is to be collected.

c) Post-enumeration Phase:

This stage consists of various activities including:
i. Data Processing: This involves a set of operations that translate the information collected in a Census into a useful and timely set of statistical tables.
ii. Post Enumeration Survey (PES): The PES is a short survey conducted few weeks after the Census to determine the accuracy and reliability of the Census. The PES would help to determine how many people were missed or counted more than once. It is meant to estimate the completeness of the Census.
iii. Production, Publication and Dissemination: The main objective of any Census is to collect, compile and transmit information to the public in the form they can use. A Census is complete only when the collected information is made available to those who use it. This is done through printed reports of data, seminars and other ways of dissemination.

What is new in the 2021 PHC?

  1. The use of Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) to ensure efficient data, collection, management, and processing. This will help to receive real-time data and also minimise the data processing period so that processed data could be released shortly after field data collection.
  2. Use of Geographic Positioning System (GPS) to capture the location (coordinates) of all structures and also all localities to ensure complete coverage and also improve data analysis.
  3. The sanitation module has been expanded to get more information to help solve the sanitation challenges in the country.
  4. Information Communication Technology (ICT) Module has been expanded to ensure the measurement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.

Legal Authority for the Census

The Legal Authority for conducting Population and Housing Census is the Statistical Service Act 2019 (Act 1003). This Law empowers the Government Statistician to conduct statistical surveys and any Census in Ghana.


DCIC: District Census Implementation Committee

DCO: District Census Officer

DDQMT: District Data Quality Management Team

DITO: District IT Officer

EA: Enumeration Area

FSSR: Final Supervisor’s Scrutiny Report

GPS: Global Positioning System

GRATIS: Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service

ITTU: Industrial Technology Transfer Unit

IT: Information Technology

M&E: Monitoring and Evaluation

NVTI: National Vocational Training Institute

PHC: Population and Housing Census

POI: Point of Interest

RCIC: Regional Census Implementation Committee

RCO: Regional Census Officer

SA: Supervisory Area

SDG: Sustainable Development Goal

DFS: District Field Supervisor

TVET:Technical Vocational Education and Training

2 thoughts on “PHC interview: Short notes on Population and Housing Census in Ghana”

Leave a Reply

The contents of this website are copyright protected. Unauthorized re-publishing and scraping of contents without permission are strongly prohibited.

Join 1,392 other subscribers.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

More Articles