More explicitly it can be defined as a complete process of collection, reception, assessments, analysis publication and distribution of demographic, economic and social data, which relates at a given moment in time to all the residents of a country or of a well-defined partial geographic area, as reflected in the population and housing censuses handbook of the U. N in 1992.
While conducting population census, there are various problems that could be altering the successful completion of the exercise using Africa and some African countries as case study, they include: i. Insufficient funding ii. Manpower ( inadequate skills/ knowledge , availability ) iii. Political influences iv. Inaccuracy in the base maps being used v. Inaccessibility to enumeration areas. Funding has been a major issue in the conduct of population censuses in developing countries especially in Africa.
Most countries find the exercise too cumbersome to carry out in respect of monetary times and as such the periodical conduct of censuses under a 10 years plan as practiced by some developed countries in Europe and north America could not be achieved in Africa but some countries like Botswana have been able to achieve a considerable number of censuses up to tune of 15 censuses in their history. Sighting Nigeria as an example, the concluded 2006 national population and housing census was conducted after 15 years of the unsuccessful previous one.
Even with respect to that wide gap. The country still had to receive monetary aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The issue of manpower is ravaging cases in conducting population census in Africa, the manpower usually are unskilled or semi-skilled in most cases. By virtue of that, the data they collect might not be correct which gives an in- accurate statistical data when the results of the census is concluded.
The 2006 census in Nigeria recorded a huge number of inexperienced work persons who ad no previous knowledge of collecting data before that time. Influences cannot be ruled out mostly in developing countries where the due process agenda is just being proper gated. The stages that have to be passed through are in most cases being skipped or area that area to be paid much emphasises are being streamlined if it will not be of political interest to the people in power. Also there is cases of incompetent official being employed due to their political influences and no experience forehand which would later jeopardise the exercise.
Due to a considerable level of backwardness still being experienced in Africa as a continent there are still some loop areas that affect the hitch free process of population census and that the availability of an up to date base maps. Some African countries still fi d it hard to produce an update map of the various regions and areas in their state which gives the workers a [problem when they get to their enumeration area and it still cannot tally with the area indicated on the base map given to them .
Only few countries in Africa has been able to overcome this problems, Egypt has passed that level has it has been able to perform successively a 10years interval censuses since 1909 and problems as such has been eradicated over time. But that is not the case with other countries that has just being enlightened to the benefit of population censuses. The problem of harsh terrain has also been a ravaging factors that infers a complete population census to be carried out in some areas.
For instance Ethiopia has had just three censuses in history (1984, 1994 and 2007) but in all cases the Somali region and the Afar region were not covered due to the fact that these regions are remote regions that are very hot and arid. While the Somali region hosts a large population and is a conflict area where Ethiopian regular forces are fighting against the Ogaden national liberation areas.
These areas are areas of tremendous dangers in which enumerators are scared of going which would eventually have a deficit on the population statistics when it is finally computed. However with all these been said Kenya has been the first African country to be the first to produce a completely processed census within one year after census.