D4D with the National Census 2021 Citizen Observation Committee (NCOC 2021) conducted an observation of the National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) 2021.
The National Population and Housing Census is included in Nepal’s Constitution as a main priority to be conducted every 10 years. It is part of an integrated national statistical system of Nepal and provides the benchmark for population count at national and sub-national levels at regular intervals.
The NPHC 2021 was the first federal democratic census in newly federalized Nepal. Nepal’s post-conflict period has given rise to representation and new concerns related to people’s identity and recognition. In this context, the census is viewed as a means of seeking and institutionalizing group identity in Nepal. The central, transformative promise of the 2030 agenda for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “Leave No One Behind,” is also a central concern of the NPHC 2021.
Field observation from this study confirmed that most common people had heard of the census, but their explanations of the census differed. Some respondents disliked the idea of people coming to their house to take data and some had a wrong impression that the census is taken for tax imposing purposes.
Respondents gave positive feedback on the hiring of fresh graduates as supervisors and enumerators for NPHC 2021, compared to the earlier practice of only hiring local schoolteachers. However, some respondents felt that questions were asked in a hurry and that the mindset of data-takers did not adequately consider respondents’ interests and varied levels of understanding.
In addition, D4D worked with Center for Data Journalism to summarize the collective census observation work and created a synopsis video that the team plans on releasing later this year along with the next set of reports delivered by Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics for the 2021 National Census Survey.