From 1 to 31 October, Serbia will carry out a census.
It will be done in the traditional door-to-door manner and there will be 15,000 data collectors and 2,200 instructors. Citizens are obliged to give accurate and complete answers to almost all questions if they refuse to do so, they could be charged a fine ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 dinars.
According to the law on the census, households and dwellings, citizens are obliged to participate in the census and give complete and precise answers to almost all questions, except for the third one – namely: ‘does the person have problems in daily functioning due to problems with vision, hearing, walking, and memory’.
Census officers will enter the data into electronic forms and collect them on the basis of the citizens’ answers. They will also be asked to provide their unique citizen identification number (JMBG), and all the given data will be protected and confidential.
In the event that no one is at home, the census officer will return at another time, and if there’s no one home the second time around, the officer will leave a written notice and citizens can contact him by calling a toll-free number to arrange a new appointment. People who are temporarily absent for the reasons of studying, working or other reasons will be included in the census as their family members will provide information on their behalf.
Students and pupils accommodated in student dormitories will be registered twice, as temporarily present in the place where they are currently staying for study purposes and in the place where their family lives. The census also includes foreign citizens who have been living and working in Serbia for more than a year or intend to stay for more than a year, as well as migrants accommodated in reception centres.
There are two questionnaires, one for each person individually, and the other for the family and the housing they live in. An adult can answer the questions for another member if he or she is absent as long as that adult is quoted as a source of information at the end of the questionnaire. Biological parents, adoptive parents, guardians or foster parents will provide information on children younger than 15.
It is interesting to note that in the 2011 census, the most accurate data related to the age and gender of the citizens, while the least accurate was the square footage of the living space.
When someone refuses to take part in the census, the census officer will inform their instructor and informs the census commission in charge of the logistics of the municipality. According to the Law on the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings, an individual included in the census who refuses to answer questions on the census forms or provides incorrect and incomplete answers will be fined between 20,000 to 50,000 dinars.
The census data are for statistical purposes only. Among other things, this will provide data on the educational and economic features of the population, the marital structure, the number of students, how people travel for work, but also about migratory movements, how many people have changed their place of residence, as well as whether apartments and houses have regular water supply and what they use for heating. For all questions and ambiguities related to the census, citizens can call the toll-free 080 0444005 or find the answers on the website of the State Statistical Office.
Preliminary results will be published by 30 November and final results from April 2023 to May 2024. The financial resources for the census implementation have been provided by the Serbian government and the European Union, and it is estimated that it will cost 5 euros per person.
In the last census, in 2011, out of 7,186,862 inhabitants of Serbia, approximately 5,000 citizens declared themselves to be Eskimos, Indians, Red Star fans, Cosmopolitans and Martians.
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