San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s Census-Takers Take Practice Run

One of the most diverse regions in Costa Rica, Palmares, has been chosen as the guinea pig for next year’s national census.

The Palmares Census 2010 began Monday morning and will continue through Friday, as a test for the 2011 National Census. Palmares, a coffee town northwest of San José, was chosen for the test because the area has a varied and widely distributed population.

On Monday, 250 teachers and 30 employees of the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) began visiting 12,000 homes in Palmares. The census workers intend to survey one person from each of those households by the end of the week. Each survey is projected to last between 20 to 30 minutes, according to INEC.

The Palmares polling exercise will use new technology to ensure greater efficiency than in previous census efforts.

Digital mapping will give an overview of ground covered by census workers, and new programs will diminish the amount of time between conducting the surveys and compiling the results. The new technology is supposed to lower the wait time for the national survey’s results from one year to six months, although these estimates may be modified by results of the Palmares Census 2010. The 2011 National Census begins next May.

The goal of the national census, according to INEC, is to give an accurate sampling of the economic and social conditions of the country.

–Matt Levin

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