Conducting a population census is a difficult and complex
task, and involves investing great efforts and large fiscal expenditures. The
preparations for censuses and their execution are characterized by a constant
battle with many professional, organizational and administrative difficulties.
To date, traditional censuses have been
conducted, in which enumerators went out to all the residents' homes and
collected data from the entire population by the use of questionnaires. The
greatest difficulty in this system is ensuring the public's cooperation, which
is a basic condition for conducting the census successfully. The importance of
this issue arose in past censuses conducted in this country and throughout the
world, and arises today, as well.
In light of these difficulties, and the great demand for detailed,
frequent demographic, social and economic data which the population census
provides, the statistical institutions in various countries began to examine possible
alternatives to the traditional census, which is based on collecting data from
each resident of the country.
The goal is to abolish, or significantly reduce, the dependence on filling
in questionnaires, and to become based - as much as possible - on administrative
data bases existing in the country.
Indeed, in recent years a trend has been identified
throughout the world for a more intensive use of administrative data for
official statistics. The causes are many: technological changes, especially in
the field of computers; the expansion of administrative data bases found in
various organizations; the availability of the information; etc. These changes
have caused those who deal in statistics to reach the conclusion that it is
possible, and beneficial, to make greater use of the information existing in
administrative sources, and these trends have not skipped the population
The transition from traditional censuses to administrative
censuses is occurring in many countries throughout the world, but it is
accompanied by many difficulties and therefore is taking a long time. In order
to conduct an administrative census there is a need for census data in
administrative data bases, and links between these data bases. In addition,
administrative files often have problems of overage or underage in records
belonging to the census population, errors in entries and delays in updating
the data. Also, definitions of variables and their classification is often
different from the information required for the census. Therefore, using data
bases requires planning, caution and recognizing its limitations.
great strides have been made in using existing data bases for census purposes. The
use of administrative files already began in the 1983 census, in which the
Population Registry was used when going out into the field; and in the 1995
census, when the Population Registry was used for field work and for adding
variables from it, as well as using data bases on income from work and
allowances, which were added to the census data.
The integrated census is an additional step
towards the growing use of existing data bases. The Improved Administrative
File (IAF) is the basic file of the population census, which includes the
framework of the census population, and is created by combining the Population
Registry file with additional administrative files.
In addition, in order to provide the basic census
information which also includes socio-economic data, other files from
administrative sources will be used and added to the information collected in
the population census.
Presently, the professionals at the Central Bureau of
Statistics are diligently planning the future censuses of the State of Israel.
These, as mentioned, will be based as much as possible on existing information
which includes available administrative sources that can provide the framework
for the census population, and the required data, together with directed field
surveys and ongoing CBS surveys that will be used for conducting censuses.
Expanding the reliance on administrative files and
existing data will enable the Bureau to conduct population censuses and provide
the population with the required information more often and at a higher