SCIO briefing on 7th National Population Census

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Recently, some people have questioned the quality of the census data. You just said that the undercount rate of the Seventh National Population Census was only 0.05%, so does this mean that this is a high-quality census? In addition, the results of the census came out relatively slowly. A spokesperson for the NBS previously said that this is because the seventh census released more detailed information than the information released in the sixth census. Can you tell us more about what information has been added? Thank you.

Zeng Yuping:

First of all, thank you for your questions. You have asked two questions, one on data quality and the other on data dissemination. Regarding the issue of data quality, we often say that data quality is the lifeline of statistical work. Similarly, the quality of census data is also the lifeline of our census work. In order to obtain high-quality census data, we adhered to conducting the census in accordance with the law, and carried out extensive publicity and mobilization, while focusing on the following measures.

First, we scientifically designed the census plan. This census has drawn on the experience of past censuses, including the experience of the population census, the economic census and the agricultural census. Meanwhile, we extensively solicited opinions from various parties, including experts and scholars, and all sectors of society. We organized and carried out six special pilots and one comprehensive pilot nationwide. In accordance with the principles of science and feasibility, demand and capability, inheritance and innovation, we formulated the Program for the Seventh National Population Census and seven implementation rules to ensure that our census program is scientific and operable.

Second, enumeration was meticulously organized. Before the start of on-site registration, census agencies at all levels carefully selected census staff and strengthened their pre-job training. We made efforts to detect any illegal hukous (China's household registration system), divided census blocks and conducted a pre-assessment of the conditions and other preparation work in a solid manner. More than seven million census workers nationwide strictly implemented the census program, which also coincided with the COVID-19 prevention and control period. We earnestly ensured we implemented the various requirements for epidemic prevention and control. We have succeeded in fulfilling the task of the field enumeration of the whole nation.

Third, we made full use of information technology. In this census, we made use of information technology to actively explore and innovate on census methods. For the first time, we had access to digital devices and our staff could directly register and report the data online; for the first time, census subjects filled in their own reports via the internet; for the first time, we could compare and verify the census data via administrative records and big data; for the first time, data processing was centrally deployed nationwide, using internet cloud technology, cloud services and cloud applications to complete data processing; and for the first time, we collectively guided more than seven million census workers online.

Fourth, we ensured the quality of the whole survey process. In accordance with the provisions of the census plan, census agencies at all levels established quality-control systems, strictly conducted the work according to the quality-control requirements, and meticulously carried out quality checks to ensure the quality of work at each stage of the census. Meanwhile, we established a traceability and accountability mechanism for census data and seriously investigated fraud practices at every local agency.

After we finished the work, the census office of the State Council, in accordance with international practice, organized nearly one thousand professional spot-check personnel for random quality checks on 32,000 households among 141 counties from China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and employed social supervisors for supervision during the whole process. The result showed that, the amount of the population that failed to register was 0.05%, lower than the international standard of 3%, demonstrating the data is true and credible and that it was a high-quality census. That's all for the first question.

The second question concerns the timing of the release of census data. The population census work is a huge systematic project involving many links and wide aspects. In order to coordinate the arrangements and ensure the smooth connection of all links, we formulated the schedule before the implementation of the census. The original schedule for the release of the census bulletins was a planned one, but in view of the strong demand for the census results from all sectors of society, we enriched the content of the release by adding a large amount of data onpopulation distribution and regions, so it took more time to prepare the data. Today, we are releasing eight bulletins, which are richer and more detailed than the previous censuses, with each set of data verified and exact. In addition, we understand that other countries also release their census one year after field enumeration. For example, the United States conducted its population census on April 1, 2020, and their results were released on April 26, 2021, almost one year later.

In the next step, we will further share, explore and utilize the census results, and in the future, we will successively edit and publish more detailed census summary materials to meet the needs of all parts of society. We also welcome you to use it. At the same time, we will use the micro data laboratory to provide desensitization micro data from the census for relevant research institutions, experts and scholars to carry out analysis and research, so as to better utilize the census data. Thank you all.

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