The scientific and objective planning processes for implementation of development projects in any part of the world require myriad of vital information, data and statistics on population, socio-economic conditions, annual growth, living places and needs for education, health, housing and social services institutions, among others. This can be achieved through the government, which conducts a census of population, housing and establishments from time to time to learn about the changes in demographic, economic and social aspects by gathering all the relevant data and information.
On May 6, 2015, Royal Decree No 15/2015 was issued to conduct an e-census of population, housing and establishments for the year 2020. The Sultanate has already conducted such censuses in the last four decades when the population was around two million. It is now preparing for the next one in 2020, which will be different from the previous ones. The next census is ‘the fourth of its kind’ implemented by the Sultanate. The output from the last three censuses comprised a wealth of data and information that supplemented short and long-term development plans, resulting in the implementation of many development programmes and provision of educational, health, social and other services.
The upcoming e-Census of Population, Housing and Establishments for 2020 will be more extensive and comprehensive at the national level than the previous ones — as indicated by the Supreme Committee — which requires the need to update and complete administrative records and improve the quality of databases throughout government agencies.
The Supreme National Committee for e-Census of Population, Housing and Establishments recently held a meeting chaired by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture, to follow up on the matter.
The upcoming census gains importance from being the first of its kind in the use of electronic methods compared with fieldwork methods used in the previous censuses.
The Supreme Committee has been carrying out its assigned tasks for several years, including the project for standardising the address system in the Sultanate, supervised by the National Center for Statistics and Information in collaboration with relevant government agencies.
The project allows a shift from descriptive address to digital address to easily locate residential buildings across governorates and create an environment and mechanisms that contribute to the use of correct addresses in addition to the Sultanate’s development of e-business.
The results of Census 2020 will reveal more important data relating to population growth and the need for projects, especially in areas of modern knowledge and technologies.
The Sultanate’s population is on the rise. According to data from the National Center for Statistics and Information, its population exceeded 4.6 million in the first month of this year, including two million expatriates.
The Sultanate’s population is expected to surpass eight million by 2040, an increase of 3.5 million people. While the country witnessed a stable population growth in the past years, it will see a steady growth in the upcoming years, according to some experts, thanks to technological developments in the field of reproductive medicine which help in the treatment of fertility issues caused by lifestyle choices.
No doubt, the next census will be in line with the future vision of Omani economy 2020, after which the 2040 Vision will be launched with the onset of 2021. This will increase the importance of census at the administrative, planning and operational levels. At the same time, it requires greater effort, coordination and cooperation among all units and government bodies and cooperation with specialised labs to analyse results on scientific basis.
Haider Al Lawati