The population survey conducted at the end of 2004 was a pilot for the main census. It was the second in a series of pilot surveys conducted in preparation for the Integrated Census, which will be conducted in 2008. The pilot survey aimed to test the methodology and processes, as well as the technological and statistical tools that will be used in the Integrated Census, so that they can be evaluated and improved before they are implemented among the total census population (for a detailed explanation, see the article "The 2008 Census of Population and Housing - General Approach and Process of Implementation")​.

The pilot survey was conducted in the following localities: Givatayim, Tira, Newe Yamin, Yarhiv, and Elishama. Those localities were selected because they represent different characteristics, and can provide a basis for adapting the process to different types of localities. The census survey was conducted in two stages. 

The first stage focused on collecting data from different administrative files, and the second stage focused on collecting data in the field.

Data Collection from Administrative Files​

The stages of the survey that focused on data collection from administrative files served as a basis for constructing an improved administrative file (IAF). The file was constructed on the basis of the Population Register, as well as on the basis of other administrative files. The process of constructing the IAF for the census began about a year before the determinant date of the survey (13 November 2004).

In the first stage, the Population Register file was updated on the basis of three files: 
The Motor Vehicles File, which includes all of the motor vehicles registered at the Motor Vehicle Licensing Bureau.
The Israel Electric Corporation File , which includes all of the Israel Electric Corporation consumers.
The File of Pupils, which includes all of the pupils enrolled in grades 1-12 of the education system.

Data from those files were linked with data from the Population Register. Afterwards, all of the files were screened. In that process, files that were not records of an individual, as well as files that did not belong to the survey population and duplicate files were eliminated. In addition, regional anchoring was conducted and the files were edited to select addresses for each record in the file.

During the year that preceded the determinant date, the IAF was updated with current data from the Population Register and from three other files:
The File of Newborns: All infants born up to the Determinant Date (13 November 2004) were added to the IAF, at their mother’s address (if it was listed) or at their father’s address. 
The Deceased Persons File: All persons who died up to the Determinant Date were added to the IAF so that they would not be included in the final census file.
File of Immigrants: All people who immigrated to before the Determinant Date were added to the IAF. When data collection was completed, the IAF served as a basis for constructing the final census file.

Data Collection in the Field

​Data were collected in the field in thee stages:

A.   Pre-data-collection: This stage involved screening of the area cells selected for the sample, which included about 20% of the buildings in the locality. Interviewers recorded the buildings and the dwellings in each of the buildings in the sample without actually entering the dwellings. This stage lasted about two weeks.​

B.   Data Collection: Interviewers returned to the dwellings recorded in the previous stage, and interviewed the people who resided there. This stage lasted about eight weeks.

C.   Completing data collected in the field: Interviewers returned to the sampled dwellings in order to complete the data on persons who were listed in the administrative file as residents of the area but were not home in the data collection stage. This stage lasted about two weeks.

D.   Completing data through telephone calls: An additional attempt was made to locate the people who were not at home during the stage of completing the data collected in the field. In this last stage, interviewers made follow-up telephone calls to those people in order to complete the missing data. This stage lasted about three months.

The results of the 2004 pilot survey were based on the processes described above. Every individual was assigned a "census weight" , by linking the data collected in the field with the data listed in the IAF. The final census file consisted of two parts. One part included demographic data, with the addition of the census weight for every record. The other part included socio-economic data, with the addition of the census weight for every record and every household.

The Data Collected in the Population Survey

​Questionnaires were completed by the Central Bureau of Statistics interviewer in a computer-assisted interview (CAI). The data collected in the survey related to the following variables: demographic information, education level, employment and wages, and information on the household (housing conditions and standard of living). 

Questions addressed to individual participants:

To obtain demographic data, residents were asked to indicate their age, marital status, place of birth, number of children born to the wife, date of immigration to Israel, and geographical mobility.

With regard to data on schooling and education level, residents were asked about their enrollment in school in the past and present, diplomas attesting to their education level, and years of schooling.

With regard to data on employment, residents were asked about their work during the previous week, their work during the previous year, and their efforts to seek work. In addition, participants provided information about the industry they are employed in and their own occupation. Furthermore, they were asked to indicate the address of their workplace, their hours of work, and their status at work (employee or self-employed). With regard to data on income, residents were asked questions related to their individual income and the income of their households from salaries, allowances, pension, restitution from, etc.

Questions addressed to households:

With regard to housing conditions and standard of living, residents were asked questions about the dwelling they live in, e.g., number of rooms, durable goods, and ownership of the dwelling.​

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