Census turnout deemed overwhelming

More
than 300 people attended the four recruitment meetings held so far for Census
2010.

“The
response has been overwhelming,” said Census Manager Elizabeth Talbert. “Only
in West Bay did we not get the turnout we expected, but that may have been
because our advertising did not go out early enough.”

Three
hundred workers will be needed to make Census 2010 a success.

The
West Bay meeting was held on Thursday, 3 June, and attracted 30 people, Ms
Talbert reported. But the following Monday, 7 June, George Town’s meeting in
the Family Life Centre attracted 130 people and on Thursday a Bodden Town
Primary School classroom was packed to capacity with 140 people present. Ms
Talbert believes West Bay residents may have attended one of the other
meetings, but she won’t know for sure until application forms are checked. She
is prepared to make another effort in West Bay, if necessary.

Ms
Talbert later confirmed that 40 people attended the recruitment meeting in
Cayman Brac conducted on Thursday evening by Ms Maria Zingapan, the statistics
office director. That number put the total turnout at 350. Ms Talbert said it
is better to have more people train than are needed because there is always
some attrition.

“Your
attendance signifies your interest in the development of your islands,” senior
economist Adolphus Laidlow told the Bodden Town gathering. However, he acknowledged,
the current “economic hard times” may also have been a factor because the
census workers will be paid as much as $3,000 for their service.

With
the three Cayman Islands divided into 250 areas for the population count,
approximately 250 people will be needed to go house to house. They are referred
to as enumerators and will each be responsible for collecting data from about
100 households. Their work will be overseen by some 40 field supervisors, with
progress monitored by eight district supervisors.

Enumerators
will be paid $30 per completed interview form, $25 of that for the interview
process and $5 for expenses such as mileage and phone call costs. Prospective
workers were told that an interview for a household of three people would not
take more than 20-25 minutes. However, they were also told that they might be
required to return to a household several times to complete the census form if
someone is not home who can answer the questions.

Staff
from the Economics and Statistics Office used video and power-point
presentations at the meetings to share basic information. The designated Census
Day is Sunday, 10 October, 2010, or as the frequently-aired jingle proclaims,
10-10-10. The official name of the counting exercise is the 2010 Population and
Housing Census. It consists of 67 questions, but not all of them will be asked
of every person. For example, only females in a certain age group will be asked
if they gave birth during the previous year.

Information
requested is arranged in 10 broad categories, including demographics (age,
gender), educational attainment, housing, employment, disability and illness.

This
time, there will be no mail-ins; the plan is for every household to be visited
within six weeks of 10 October. Potential enumerators also asked about public
education and concerns non-Caymanians may have about providing information. “We
are counting residents, not the legal status of your residence,” Ms Talbert
replied. A resident is anyone living in Cayman for at least six months, or
having the intention to stay for at least six months. There will be increasing
publicity as 10-10-10 approaches so that the general public will be aware of
their right — and their obligation — to take part.

No
names will be entered into any computer data, Ms Talbert pointed out. The
census form does ask for names of household members, but this is only to distinguish
which individuals are responding to which questions. If people don’t want to
use names they can just as easily be referred to as A,B,C or 1,2,3, the census
manager said.

Detailed
training for census workers will take place in September and possible problems
will be dealt with in detail at that time. People who applied to be a census
worker will be notified in August if they have been accepted.

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