San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

2011 Census to survey more than 4 million people living in Costa Rica

View an English copy of the 2011 Census here:

An army of 35,000 census takers will put on light blue velvet vests and begin their mission May 30: logging the first census since 2000. Workers will gather information about every person in the country in one week. Costa Rica’s government will use the 2011 Census to obtain a better picture of what the current population looks like.

The census takers, or enumerators, plan to visit about 1.3 million households and interview an estimated 4.6 million people, according to the National Statistics and Census Institute.

Each questionnaire consists of 60 items including inquires about income, education level and marital status. Other questions are related to family needs and health concerns, such as whether a person has a disability or if an interviewee is enrolled in the social security system. Each interview should last no more than 30 minutes.

The total cost of the 2011 Census will be $3.6 million and it is funded by INEC.

“The main objective of the research is to understand who we are, what we need and how to get it,” said Karla Jinesta, one of the INEC researchers charged with designing the questionnaire. “That way we may define what the country’s priorities should be.”
Each census worker will be paid on average $100 for their collaboration. Grade school teachers have been selected to be the enumerators, since they are “well known in their communities and create a sense of trust among neighbors,” Jinesta said.

According to Jinesta, the study will ultimately help governments define their strategies regarding areas including the social security system and employment policies.

INEC officials also plan to survey foreigners living in the country. Bilingual personnel will be used to interview those who do not speak Spanish. Jinesta emphasized that all information is kept confidential.

“We don’t care about the immigration status of the interviewees,” said Jinesta. “We just want to acknowledge how foreigners contribute to the development of the country and what their needs are. Guanacaste will be one of the areas where we target the foreign population.”

The surveying will end on July 3. All census workers will carry a photo identification card. Security will accompany enumerators working in higher risk areas.

The INEC set up an 800-number for who people who want to verify who the enumerator is working in their area. The number is 800-CENSO2011 or 800-23676-2011. For more information visit


[Name] considers himself…

…black or afrodescendent?



…White or mestizo?



Is the toilet connected to…

…sanitary sewer?

…septic tank?

…has direct access to canal, ditch, river or stream?

…or pit toilet or latrine?

Does not have a toilet

Do you eliminate trash mainly by…

…a garbage truck?

…throwing in a hole or burying?

…burning it?

…throuwing (sic) away in a derelict land?

…throwing into a river, stream or sea?


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