Demographer Goran Penev said that the preliminary results of the 2022 census are questionable because more data on over 218,000 people were taken from administrative sources and not in the field.
He added that the negative migration balance for the past 11 years stands to only 19,000 people.
Penev also said that the population census was carried out using a combined method, contrary to the method used by the State Statistics Office (RZS).
“When the population census is carried out using a combined approach, then most of the data is taken from administrative registers, and enumerators in the field take only those data that are not available in administrative sources. We don’t know how the quality of data stored in those administrative registers,” he warned.
According to him, it is inexplicable that the enumerators did not manage to interview 218,000 Serbian citizens.
“We don’t know whether those unregistered citizens are in Serbia or abroad, because our administrative sources do not have that data. The citizens who have been abroad for more than a year are not included in the number of the total population,” explained Penev.
When asked to comment on the fact that in the period between the two censuses (from 2011 to 2022) the number of residents fell by 496,000, Penev said that that data was also questionable because the only difference when it comes to the negative population growth is as many as 477,000 people.
“According to the preliminary data collated by the State Statistics Office, it turns out that the negative migration balance for the past 11 years stands at only 19,000 people, while the RZS director, Miladin Kovačević, previously stated that between 20,000 and 25,000 people leave Serbia every year. This census has been a mess and I don’t how the RZS will get out of this. It seems to me that when the census was finished, they realized Serbia had fewer people than needed, so they resorted to pulling data from administrative sources,” Penev underlined.
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