Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ethiopia Starts to Take a Census

There's news of a census that makes the massive undertaking of U.S. Census look easy. An ASSOCIATED PRESS story notes that "Ethiopia began counting its population [today], a daunting task in a country where asking personal questions is considered socially taboo but where the government and international donors sorely need more information to plan economic and social programs."

Most of the more than 100,000 census takers are schoolteachers, whose schools ended three weeks early so they could take on the task. Not only are the census takers counting how many of them there are, their ethnicity, and the languages they speak, but also religion. Public Law 94-521, prohibits the U.S. Census from asking a question about religious affiliation on a mandatory basis.

There are about 80 million Ethopians to be counted via a 47-question survey.

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