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A housing and population census is one of the primary sources of information about a people and country.  In addition to counting people, the census creates awareness about the demographics that shape a population, such as fertility, mortality, and migration. This increased awareness allows the government, decision-makers, NGO's and the public to create policies and programs to meet the needs of the nation.

The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) kicked off Belize’s 2022 Population and Housing Census on 12 May, “Census Day” under the theme “Count me in”, which promotes ownership and participation in the census data collection lasting approximately three (3) months.  SIB’s Acting Director General, Ms. Diana Castillo- Trejo, emphasizes that, “The census is a truly national undertaking, one that would not be possible without the active collaboration of various key partners, both nationally and internationally. Chief among these has been the UNFPA, which has lent its assistance to the census exercise in Belize since the early planning stage. It is a testament to the level of national commitment and the support received from all our partners that, since the start of data collection, the census has been proceeding smoothly. Through our collective efforts, the 2022 census has incorporated several innovations and improvements over previous rounds, including digital data collection, the inclusion of a geospatial component, and an advanced timeline for the publication of results. Most importantly, the SIB is pleased to note that household participation has been excellent so far, notwithstanding the challenging context within which the census is being conducted, and we look forward to the successful and timely completion of this exercise.”

Since its inception, one of UNFPA’s core mandates has been to support the collection, processing, analysis, dissemination and use of census data for development. In Belize, UNFPA Caribbean has and continues to support the Statistical Institute of Belize in accordance with the UNFPA’s key areas of support as outlined in its strategy for the 2020 census round which includes strengthening national census capacity, brokering South-South cooperation for census support, mobilizing resources, and supporting the modernization of the census, including the use of innovative census technologies and methodologies, greater use of geo-referenced census data to generate demographic intelligence, and wider dissemination of, and access to, census data.

In September 2021, per the UNFPA Caribbean 2021 Annual Report 2021 – “Moving Toward Three Zeros” - 100 participants from 46 countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia participated in UNFPA and CARICOM’s online talk-show titled ‘Emerging Challenges to the Successful Conduct of 2020 Round of Population & Housing Census in the Caribbean Region. The event included panelists from West-Africa and the Caribbean, including Belize, who had recently conducted their 2020 census or were at an advanced stage of conducting theirs. Belize remains an exemplary country and was able to share its knowledge and experiences, strategies and lessons learnt, in spite of the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The census remains the main tool that will provide the necessary details for developing targeted, evidence-based development strategies in any country, so UNFPA joins the SIB in promoting its key message “count me in” …because everyone counts!