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Jakarta Post

Low participation, COVID-19 pandemic push BPS to extend national online census

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 31, 2020   /   06:43 pm
Low participation, COVID-19 pandemic push BPS to extend national online census An officer from Statistic Indonesia signs a joint commitment to support the population census at the 2020 population census coordination meeting in Pendapa city of Tegal, Central Java, on Feb. 6. (Antara/Oky Lukmansyah)

The 2020 national online population census is to be extended until May 29 as a mere 12 percent of the needed data was gathered by the March 31 deadline, with the door-to-door census also delayed as the country struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the government agency that runs the census, had originally planned to conduct door-to-door interviews only for those who could not get online beginning in July. 

However, only 32.4 million people registered their data online by Monday, although the agency claimed to have set up a simple filing process.

"[With the extension, we hope that] more people would participate in the online census," the BPS wrote in a statement published on its Twitter account on Tuesday.

The statement confirmed that the door-to-door interviews would be delayed until Sept. 1 to "minimize the health risk for the citizens and the census workers when collecting data from house to house" as the country was facing a COVID-19 pandemic that has infected 1,528 people and killed 136 others.

The BPS, which conducts the population census every 10 years, had hoped that with the internet, most of the census could be done online rather than by sending teams to visit houses as in the past.

Read also: Online census begins despite glitches

From the last census in 2010, the BPS put Indonesia’s population at more than 237 million. A 2015 intercensal survey, a preliminary survey conducted between the population censuses, estimated Indonesia’s population to be 266.9 million in 2019 and projected it would leap to 319 million by 2045. 

This year marks the beginning of Indonesia’s “demographic dividend” era, whereby the number of working-age people (age 15 to 64) is larger than the number of their dependents. This phenomenon is expected to run until 2036 when Indonesia joins most of the world in becoming an aging nation. 

Read also: Indonesia's 2020 census to recruit 390,000 volunteers, keen to follow S. Korea footsteps

The first digital population census was estimated to cost Rp 4 trillion (US$ 292.9 million) compared to the reported Rp 3.3 trillion in 2010.

The BPS works with the National Cyber and Encryption Agency and the Bandung Institute of Technology, among other institutions, to ensure data security and privacy during the online registration. (mfp/dfr)