The population and housing censuses conducted in the past in Israel were "traditional censuses". In these censuses information was gathered on questionnaires by enumerators who visited the homes of the residents. In several countries in the world they have begun conducting "administrative censuses", in which information is collected from various organizations in which it is stored in computerized form for ongoing administrative needs. 

The integrated census is based on an integrated use (hence its name) of data from administrative sources, together with sample data gathered in surveys, i.e., in the census field work. The field work, which includes enumeration in the field and completion of the information by telephone, is called the Population Census Survey; it began at the end of 2008 and was concluded in July, 2009. 

The goals of the integrated census have remained similar to those of the traditional census: to provide demographic, social and economic information, updated to the census day for the entire population of the country, detailed enough to make it possible to characterize sectors and geographic areas as small as possible. The main difference is the means and technology used in order to collect the information. ​

Advantages of the integrated census

The integrated census provides the missing dimension in the traditional census and the administrative census, and combines the advantages of both systems. The "traditional census" is expensive, and is at times perceived as annoying the public; whereas the "administrative census" cannot be conducted at this time, because the administrative data existing in Israel today are not up-to-date enough and do not include all the census information required. 

The advantages of the integrated census are:

1. Easing the public's burden of response - in the integrated census only part of the public is required to answer the questionnaire, whereas in the traditional census the entire population is required to participate. In addition, the questionnaire focuses only on those subjects for which the population is the only source of information. These two elements lighten the burden of responding on the public.

2. Improvement in the quality of information - the combination of two information sources makes it easier to reduce errors in the data published.

Processes of producing the integrated census

The integrated census combines a number of processes which complement each other.

A. Statistical and administrative processes

1. Creation of an Improved Administrative File (IAF)
The first stage in the work process of the integrated census is the creation of an Improved Administrative File (IAF) that contains the framework of the census population. This file is created by combining the file of the Population Register with additional administrative files.

2. Sampling
For purposes of conducting the census, an investigation is performed on two independent samples: a sample of field cells and a sample of the population listed in the IAF.

Field cell sample - in order to create the sample, the country is divided into "cells". A cell is a continuous geographical space which contains an average of approximately 50 households. From the cell list, a random sample of field cells is chosen, in which the enumerators poll the population in the households, using the "traditional census" method.

A sample of the population - a sample of individuals whose address in the IAF is found in the field cells that were sampled.

B. The population census survey

1.  Enumeration of households in the sampled space
At this stage the enumerators go over all the buildings and all the dwellings with cells that were sampled, and collect data from the residents by filling out a computer-supported questionnaire in the home of the person being sampled.

After receiving the data from the field, a comparison is conducted between the address where each person was enumerated and their address in the IAF. From this comparison information is received regarding the Population Undercoverage at the address recorded in the IAF.

2. Completion of information by telephone
All the individuals included in the population sample who were not found in the field, are questioned by telephone, to identify the address at which they live. This investigation produces information on the Population Overcoverage  at the addresses listed in the IAF.

C. Production of data

1. Integrated Census File (ICF)
The integrated census file is composed of details belonging to the IAF. The file includes demographic characteristics of individuals, and each individual's entry is assigned a weighting coefficient (weight) which specifies the number of people it represents in the population. An individual that received a "weight" of 2 represents 2 people; i.e., at the listed address one person who resides there is missing and listed at another address. An individual that received a weight of 0.5 represents two people listed at the address; however, one of them actually resides at another address.

2. The Socio-economic File (SEF)
The socio-economic file is composed of households and individuals who were enumerated in the field, and includes demographic and socio-economic characteristics. Each individual's entry is assigned a weighting coefficient (weight) which expresses the number of people in the population which it represents. The weight in the SEF file is adapted to the ICF. So that if we total, for example, the weight of all the infividuals enumerated in Tel Aviv, we will receive the same number of residents as in the ICF and SEF files.

3. Production of products

From the ICF and SEF files are produced a range of products available to the public. Among them: a cross-section of the characteristics of statistical-geographic localities and areas, tables which contain information on various subjects such as education and work, files of unidentified individual entries for data processing, etc.

​Timetable and stages of implementation of the 2008 Population Census Survey

A. Organization - recruitment and training of personnel (recruitment of approximately 2,500 workers, among them Regional Office Directors, Supervisors, various coordinators and     approximately 2,000 enumerators), establishment of 12 regional offices​, and becoming familiar     with the field. This stage took place during August till the beginning of December, 2008.

B. Listing the buildings in the sample - listing all the dwellings and buildings chosen for the sample, without entering the dwellings. This stage took place during 7 - 18, December, 2008.

C. Interviews of the population - The enumerators, armed with an identifying tag with a picture, arrived at the dwellings listed in the previous stage, in order to interview the families.The interview was carried out with the help of a laptop computer. The interview was one of the family members who was at home and is 18 years old or more.
The interview related to the state of the family members on Saturday evening, 27 December,2008, the census day of the Population Census Survey. The duration of the interview was 20-30 minutes. This stage was carried out from 28 December, 2008 to the end of February, 2009.

D. Completion of the information - telephone interviews of people included in the population     sample, who belong to the survey group, who were not found in the previous stage, in order to     locate their correct address. This stage was carried out during March 25 till the beginning of    July,2009.