Following Royal Command from His Majesty The King, the government has declared a three-day national holiday to conduct the second Population and Housing Census of Bhutan.

The three-day census begins on May 30.

“Everyone is expected to stay at their residences and extend full support and cooperation to the census officials,” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said in his government order issued on April 24.

The census will collect population data and basic housing information on health, education, employment and language, among others, for various administrative and planning purposes. It will count all people living in the country during the census irrespective of nationality.

National Statistics Bureau officials, who are overseeing the conduct of the census are already in the dzongkhags to brief dzongkhag and thromde census committees.

The dzongkhag and thromde census comittees will recruit officials mainly teachers or civil servants for the census as supervisors and enumerators.

Senior Statistical Officer, Pema Namgay said that the census will provide benchmark data on demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics.

The information from the census will be used as the baseline for the  12th Five Year Plan and with the launch of the international Sustainable Development Goals, the data will play a critical role in development planning.

Considering the possible increase in population and the households, Pema Namgay said the census was increased to three days. It was conducted over a duration of two days in 2005.

In December 2015, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay issued a government order calling for the conduct of the census. On May 16, the NSB issued a notification to the dzongkhag statistical officers to cease all activities until further notice.

The census was postponed from May last year because of technical reasons. The government has decided to provide about Nu 200 million for the census.

The first census in the country was undertaken during the reign of Desi Chogyal Sherub Wangchuk between 1744 and 1763.

Until the 2005 survey, censuses did not follow international norms and so could not be compared with other countries, nor were proper records maintained for ready reference and retrieval.

Tshering Palden