Cayman postpones census due to COVID-19 pandemic

Cayman joins a growing list of countries that will postpone their population and housing census for 2020.

Cayman’s housing and population census scheduled for this year has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The island’s Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) made the revelation last week that the census originally scheduled for October 2020 has been postponed to October 2021, noting that the exact date had not been finalised.

According to the ESO, the decision to postpone the census was primarily due to COVID-19 related factors for the decision taken.

ESO cited health risk to field workers and households, and the impact on families’ participation rates among other COVID-19-related factors.

“During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we continue to value the safety of all residents, as well as the over 450 field staff who would have collected the data during the two months exercise,” said ESO in a release.

ESO further said that the office was also concerned that recruiting of field staff would be challenging in addition to poor participation.

“Older persons on whom we historically rely are less likely to work amidst the COVID-19 health risk. These persons also have historically higher response rates increasing their risk, “said ESO

Furthermore, ESO noted the recommendations by the United Nations (UN) on the population census, the conduct of censuses should be in ‘a normal year,’ to collect high-quality, usable data.

“Unfortunately, the year 2020 is contrary to this guiding principle due to the pandemic,” added ESO.

The ESO said it does not believe that postponing Census 2020 will negatively hamper the time analysis of the data, as the 2009 population and housing census was postponed to 2010 due to fiscal austerity, precipitated by the 2008 financial crisis.

Other regional countries with scheduled 2020 censuses which have been postponed, or are considering postponing due to the current pandemic environment, include St Lucia, Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas, and Barbados.