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STATIN concedes errors in census report

Published: Friday October 19, 2012 | 9:57 am Comments 0

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

ONE DAY after releasing the latest population and housing census, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is conceding that errors have been identified in the report.


Sonia Jackson, the director general of STATIN, told The Gleaner yesterday that the agency will be fixing the errors that have been identified in the report.

Jackson also said there was no need to recall the report as it has not been circulated widely.

"We have not sent out any yet. The only ones that have gone out are those from the press conference," Jackson said.

Following contact made by The Gleaner to query discrepancies in the reports, Valerie Nam, director of Censuses and Demographic Statistics, furnished three sets of data which seek to correct data that was released.

"The errors which appeared in the report and which we have corrected and submitted, in no way changes the main findings as presented," Nam said.

Data for the population and housing census was collected from April to August 2011.

The report was published during a press conference on Wednesday.

The possible errors in the report were brought to the attention of STATIN after it was recognised that more than 200,000 Jamaicans might have been miscounted in sections of the new population and housing census.

For instance, it was observed in one section of the census document that over the 10-year period 2001-2011, the population in St Catherine is said to have grown 26 per cent by 134,246 persons - from 381,972 persons to 516,218 persons.

However, the notation provided on that same page states the population has increased by seven per cent over the period.

This seven per cent increase in St Catherine's population is borne out in another set of figures in the same report.

Instead of the 381,972 population count for 2001, which is recorded in one section of the report as St Catherine's population, another table records the 2001 population for the same parish as 482,308 persons.

Conflicting population numbers for the base year have been identified for the parishes of St Thomas, Portland, St Mary, St Ann, St James, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon.

The discrepancy as it relates to the numbers total 211,936 persons.

The data which was subsequently released by Nam for the base year mirrors those contained in the 2001 findings.

Jackson said the errors in the report might have occurred because her staff was under pressure to deliver.
"When these reports come, they come out fairly quickly, I had to get it to the printers and I presume that they were not probably read over carefully. It is not that there are calculation errors."

She added: "When you are dealing with large volumes of data, sometimes these things happen, and the speed with which we had to get the report out contributed because we had to meet the deadline," Jackson.

Jackson said STATIN has the email addresses of all the persons who attended the meeting and got the report. She said the agency would send the corrected information to those persons.

"We try our very best to make sure that we meet our deadlines but sometimes, because of the large volume of data, some things slip through. I do apologise for it," Jackson said.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com

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