Shape our future after sculpting figures!

  • By Maung Muditar
myanmar census copy
Volunteers attend a census training course at a school in Yangon on 23 March, 2014.  File Photo: Reuters

I still remember events which took places in 2004. Myanmar saw ubiquities here and there across the nation. It was none other than the campaign for taking census.

Taking census
To be exact, the campaign was launched from 30th March 2014 to 10th April, for 12 days. Under the scorching sun in mid-summer, voluntary groups comprising of teachers, IMPE staff, supporting members of wards and village were door-to-door-data-collection making. Following this, other process of taking census were being done continually—releasing pilot population data, releasing main census report, releasing reports and research papers compiled based on facts and figures of the census collected, and other activities.
Concerning taking census like episodes of a story, I contributed an article titled, “Triumph of Census,” in May 2014 when the census taking had already completed. It was written in honour of the Census Taking successfully implemented by the cooperation of the whole populace, which was neglected for over 3 decades.

After 1983, census taking was not done in Myanmar. For over 30 years, census taking was done only through the method of demography. Census taking covers the whole country, and it cannot be implemented by the government alone. It will take money, time and effort to initiate the census taking. It needs the participation of the whole populace. For these reasons, even in some developed country, census taking is launched once in every 10 years. Whatever it is, each and every country is to take census.

Objective of taking census
Census taking helps drawing up national development project, laying down policies and millennium project and analysis of performances for the developments, home and abroad. Its main objective is to strictly acquire the accurate amount of labor forces and figures in laying down policies and drawing projects.
The process of taking census in Myanmar was initiated by 4 steps. As the first step, preparation was commenced in 2011, and it ended in March 2014, lasting for 3 years period. Collecting data took only 12 days. It is not so easy to send statistics collected to the headquarter office in Nay Pyi Taw so that any damages and delays cannot be done. As for the Headquarter, census answers to questions sent from all the regions were kept through the use of Optical Mark Recognition [OMR-machines] provided by UNFPA and partner countries. Staff from IMPD performed their duties around the clock in two shifts—day and night. Professional Group of International Organisation are also supporting assessments and suggestions to Myanmar.

Cooperation to the full
Present census taking process launched after 30 years is completely different from former ones. In the regions such as Wa special region 2, special region 4 Maila and Kokant regions and ethnic armed groups’ regions where previous regimes could not implement taking census. It was attributed to the cooperation of the national brethren.
Union-level authorities themselves went to those areas to know situations on the ground. Leaders from both sides were televised to have cooperated actively in the campaign.

International acclaim
Concerning the census taking covering the whole nation, members of the international watchdogs acclaimed, putting it on record. They disclosed that Myanmar’s performances concerning census taking launched across the world was marked as the one of the crème de la crème. Though being far from census taking for 30 years, Myanmar managed to show its calibre to the world.

Declaration to make the world known to the campaign’s success
On 29 May, 2015 the major report of Census, 2014 was officially publicized. The ceremony was attended by the President himself. According to the statistics, Myanmar’s population amounted to 51.49 million [to be exact, 51486253]. The most crowded area was Yangon, whereas the least populated area was Kayah State. Myanmar’s population density was 76 per one square kilometer, it was learnt.
70 percent of the national populace are living in rural areas, while the increasing rate of population is 0.89 percent per year from 2013 to 2014. As regards inland migration of females was greater than male’s one. 60 percent of the foreign going populace belongs to male, mostly in Thailand. Life expectancy is 66.8 years of age. 4.6 percent of the populace had been disabled ones. 86 percent of the populace owns dwelling places. Only 32 percent can use electricity for lighting. 69 percents of households use char coal and firewood for cooking. 31 percents of households take drinking water from tube wells with 9 percent taking from pipe line and 18.9 percent from brick wells. 74 percents use standard toilets. 14 percents of the populace have no latrines. 50 percent of the house dwellers have TVs. 39 percents have motor cycles with 36 percent using bicycles and only 3.1 percent owning motor vehicles.

Research papers released
Every nation releases statistics of its population once a year. Myanmar releases its population on October 1 every year, based on the data received by demography. On 1st October 2017, there are 53.39 million [to be exact 53387948 in Myanmar. Nearly 2 million people increased in these years.

Important process for the nation
2014 census taking was the important process for the nation, and its report on facts and figures was the invaluable jewels. By studying those figures, regional development works can be implemented. Necessities in respective sectors such as education, health and other affairs can be calculated.

List of national ethnic people
All the process of census taking will come to an end in the end of December, 2017. Nearly all of the facts had been released, including research papers. Only one was left. Every person from home and abroad will be itching to know what it is. According to the previous releases, there are 8 major national races, viz, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan with 135 ethnic races. It was valid until the outcome of 2014 census was released. All the matters collected on races were submitted to the National Level and being negotiated among national ethnic organizations. Only after it was approved by the national level, it will be publicized, it was learnt.
Names which did not include in the previous ethnics are now being found, and some may be no longer in existence. Some may be substituted by neo-names. These have been written based on the inquiries and study. Approved statement will be known exactly only after the national level statement is released.
On December 14, the ceremony for successful implementation of 2014 census will be held in MICC—2, Nay Pyi Taw, with 5 major aims—to assess performances of the process of the census, to share experiences of those who cooperated, to express outcomes of the performances concerning census project, to be able to broadly use as for data users and to be able to prepare for the census to be taken in 2024. Vice-President himself will make an address at the ceremony and it will be held till December 15.

Unity is strength
Whatever it is, we must acknowledge the cooperation of departmental staff and volunteers, being a national cause which must be performed for the national interest. It was really successful because of unity of the populace, managing to depict Myanmar’s image.

Translated by
Khin Maung Oo

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