Everyone in Namibia must remember where they were on Reference Night

Niël Terblanché

Every citizen and temporary inhabitant of Namibia should mark their calendar where they slept last night – Census Reference Night – because it forms an integral part of the Population and Housing Census.

Alex Shimuafeni, the Statistician General of the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA) stressed the importance of Census Reference Night because of the comprehensive nature of the census.

“Every person within the borders of Namibia during the midnight of September 24, 2023, known as Census Reference Night (CRN), will be counted, irrespective of nationality, age, or social status,” he said.

This inclusion ranges from newborn babies to the elderly, encompassing both nationals and non-nationals. Individuals outside of Namibia during this period will be exempt from the count.

The meticulous count on the 24th of September represents a vital endeavour in collecting accurate demographic data. This event is the only instance where every individual, including infants, in the country undergoes counting.

“Precise counts, especially of infants and toddlers, are crucial as inaccuracies can potentially influence developmental planning and impact their lives significantly,” he said.

Every Census exercise has a pivotal period denoted as the Reference Night. This time is crucial, as people are counted wherever they are found during this period. It is essential for households to remember who stayed with them on this night.

Shimuafeni said that the Statistics Act considers the unreasonable refusal to provide census enumerators with information as a crime.

He stressed that, by law, the information provided during the census remains confidential. Collaborative arrangements with police services are established to ensure a safe and secure process.

According to Shimuafeni, data acquired from the census are instrumental in allocating funding to vital national programmes, enabling the government to make informed decisions and plan development projects more effectively.

Namibia has traditionally adhered to international census norms by conducting a census every decade.

Shimuafeni said that Census 2023 is poised to be the fourth since the first in 1991 and the second in 2001. However, financial constraints and shifting national priorities led to two postponements of the 2021 exercise.

He reiterated that Namibians, and all others within the borders of the country, must be cognizant of the importance of the Census Reference Night.

The last census in 2011 recorded a population of slightly over 2.1 million inhabitants.

According to Worldometer, the current population stands at an estimated 2.6 million as of the latest update.

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