19:10 / 13.09.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Croatia launches 2021 census

The 2021 Census has begun

The 2021 Census has begun

Foto: Davor Puklavec / PIXSELL

The census will count Croatia's current population, a data point that has been the subject of many debates about depopulation in recent years.

Talk of declining birthrates and younger people leaving Croatia to find better opportunities abroad, has led to grim predictions about how much the population has shrunk over the last ten years. That number and a trove of other demographic data are expected to be released in December.

"The State Statistics Bureau has said that Croatia's population was 4 million and 36 thousand at the beginning of this year but I project the real number will be more like 3 million, 900 thousand and something," says demographer Ivan Čipin.

For the first time, the massive data gathering operation is being done digitally. That is, citizens can speed up the process by self-reporting their data through the electronic government services platform, e-građani (e-citizens). Self-reporting is open September 13 - 26. After that, census workers will go out into the field to check self-reported data and collect the rest. This process will last until October 17.

"Around 10 thousand citizens already started self-reporting," said the main coordinator for the census, Damir Plesac said Monday morning.

The digital self-reporting method is expected to be more popular among the younger population, while elderly citizens will likely wait for census workers to come to their homes. Census officials say that when self-reporting for a multi-member household, the family needs to agree which one of them will do the reporting. That individual also has to have access to the e-građani platform through one of more than two dozen identity verification methods, such as a bank token. This person will also be the individual of reference for that particular household. For a family of four, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to fill out the on-line form, census officials said. Once the data is submitted, the person doing the reporting will receive a unique code, which he or she will present to census workers.

Giving false information or failing to comply with the count can carry fines of up to five thousand kuna. Some people may be weary of disclosing information to the government about their income and properties but Plesac, the census coordinator, said they shouldn't be.

"People should rest assured that when we receive this data it can only be mined in aggregate from."

This means that statisticians can only see the raw numbers and not the people associated with them. Around 9 thousand people will be working on the census.

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