• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024


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All you need to know about #2023Census in Nigeria!

As Nigeria gathers momentum ahead of 2023 Census, National Population Commission has released a guide that will provide answers to barrage of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by an average Nigerian particularly about what Population and Housing census 2023 seeks to achieve. Below are some of the answers to these FAQs.




  1. What is a Population and Housing Census?

Answer: A Population and Housing Census is the official and complete enumeration (count) of all persons and housing units in a country at a specified time. The enumeration implies the collection, collation, compilation, evaluation, analysis, publication and dissemination of demographic, social and economic statistics relating to the population and housing units in a country at a specified time.

  1. Why undertake a Population Census and a Housing Census at the same time?

Answer: Population and Housing Census are undertaken at the same time so that the information on the population and living quarters can be readily matched for processing and making it possible for extensive analysis to be carried out. It makes it possible to relate the housing census data to the information on demographic and economic characteristics of each household member that is routinely collected in a population census. 

  1. Who organizes Population and Housing Census?

Answer: In Nigeria, Population and Housing Census is planned and conducted by the National Population Commission.

  1. When was the last Population and Housing Census conducted in Nigeria?

Answer: The last Population and Housing Census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006 and prior to that were the Population Censuses conducted in 1991, 1973, 1962/1963, 1951/1953, 1931 and 1921. 

  1. When will the 2023 Population and Housing Census be conducted? 

Answer: The 2023 Population and Housing Census is scheduled to be conducted from 3rd to 7th May 2023. 

  1. Why do we need to have a Population and Housing Census?

Answer: The information collected will give planners, both inside and outside of government; an accurate number of how many people are living in Nigeria, who they are, where they live and their living conditions. This will aid the governments to plan for provision of various social services and basic amenities such as education, health, housing, sanitation, electricity, roads and others which are beneficial to the citizens of Nigeria. The information that will be derived from the census will also help the private sector, including businesses to plan their activities, which will be of benefit to the economic development of this country. In addition, international bodies, including Development Partners and Non-Governmental Organizations will also utilize the Population and Housing Census data when planning for Nigeria. That is why it is important for everyone within the borders of Nigeria to participate. 

  1. Why can’t we use other data such as the National Identification Number or the Voter’s Card Register or Bank Verification Number?

Answer: Population and Housing Census goes beyond the information collected by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Banks. A Population Census collects information from every individual in the country irrespective of age or nationality. Therefore, a census covers more people than the NIMC, INEC and the Banks cover. In addition, a Census collects variety of socio-demographic data on the population including literacy, fertility, migration, persons with difficulties in performing activities of daily living, economic activity, assets owned and usage of ICT. The Census also collects information on housing, housing characteristics and sanitation that are not collected by the NIMC, INEC nor the Banks. In effect, a census brings together a wide array of data on a single platform, thus facilitating the analysis of demographic, economic and social characteristics of the people and housing in the country.

  1. Who will use the Census data?

Answer: Every person living in Nigeria or outside can use the data to find out information about the country and the specific area where and how people live. Information such as how many people live at a place, their characteristics (age, sex, education etc.) and the type of structures available and those in use can be obtained from the data. Apart from general information, the data can be used by different groups such as government agencies, businesses, NGOs and CSOs for planning and decision-making. Researchers and academia can also use the data to conduct further research on issues and for teaching.

  1. What is new in the 2023 Population and Housing Census


  • Use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to collect data. All previous data collections have used Paper Assisted Personal Interviewing (PAPI). The use of PDAs will ensure efficient data, collection, management, and processing in a timely manner. That is, it will help to receive data in real time and also minimise the data processing period so that processed data could be released shortly after field data collection. 
  • Use of digital EA Maps. The Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has helped to capture the location (coordinates) of all structures and all localities to ensure complete coverage and also improve data analysis. 
  1.  How often should a Population and Housing Census be conducted?

Answer: The United Nations (UN) recommends that the Census be conducted periodically, in every 5 years or 10years depending on the resources of the country and political will. 

  1.  Why do I have to participate in Census 2023?

Answer: As an individual, you count and so, should be counted. Secondly, decision-makers need to make provision for everybody in their policy planning. The nation needs to know how many people at various ages, gender and other characteristics are in the country so that facilities such as toilets, schools, hospitals, markets and other services can be provided for individuals and communities at where they are now and to plan services for the future (e.g the next 10 years and beyond).

It is also a civic responsibility and a legal requirement, so do your bit to help make Nigeria a better place to live for everybody.

To participate in the Census, you should cooperate with census officials and ensure that all the information provided to enumerators is complete and accurate.

  1.  Do I have to participate?

Answer: Yes. A census attempts to collect data from everyone, unlike a survey which only collects data from selected respondents. A census is therefore the only source for community level data on issues such as migration patterns, education, persons with disabilities, employment and unemployment, fertility, mortality and service delivery, all of which are critical for planning.

We therefore encourage all persons in Nigeria to cooperate with our fieldworkers and to give them accurate information. 

  1.  How will NPC make sure that I am counted and that no one will be counted more than once?

Answer: The 2023 Population and Housing Census is leveraging technology to implement several interventions towards ensuring complete and accurate coverage. 

First, elaborate, and skillful use of GIS technology and geospatial resources ensure, including collecting the GPS coordinates of all structures, ensure that enumerators know how and where to locate households and persons for enumeration. 

Second, elaborate arrangements have been made to identify and enumerate population by specific residential categories, including the hard to reach or enumerate groups. 

Third, a competitive recruitment process and a rigorous training and assessment programmes comprising sustained virtual and in-person engagements are being implemented to ensure the deployment of competent personnel for data collection. 

Fourth, during data collection, real-time monitoring and continuous data validation will be undertaken at the various levels of operations (supervisory area, LGA, State, region and national) to continuously assess data quality and especially check for gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies. 

Fifth, the Commission has instructed the enumerators to apply indelible ink on the left thumb of the respondent. Every enumerator must check the left thumb for the presence of indelible ink.  

Finally, elaborate campaigns and public sensitisation programmes will create an alert, enthusiastic and proactive public to avoid duplications and report any omissions or even fabrications. A Call Centre will be used to both receive inbound calls from households and persons that may not have been listed and/or enumerated and also make outbound calls to randomly selected household to confirm that they have indeed been enumerated. 

  1. What is the methodology for the 2023 Census?

Answer: The methodology the Commission intends to adopt for the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census is de facto with the use of Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) an electronic data collection device.

  1. What is a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) 

Answer: it is a handheld device (tablet) with installed Census software App used for data collection during digital Population and Housing Census.

  1. What is an Enumeration Area?

Answer: An Enumeration Area (EA) is the smallest geographical area with a well-defined boundary and features that is assigned to an enumerator to work in. During the census, one enumerator will be assigned to work in one enumeration area to list all structures and enumerate all households. The only exception will be in rare cases where an EA is unusually large (in terms of number of structures or population size) or where for security reasons it is safer for enumerators to work in pairs. 

  1. What is household listing?

Answer: Before census enumeration, special serial numbers are assigned to structures in every Enumeration Area (EA) for the purpose of identifying the structures for actual enumeration. The procedure for undertaking this exercise is termed listing operation and this would start two weeks before enumeration begins. During listing, a serial number preceded by 2023PHC will be written in chalk on the external walls of all structures that will be listed. 

  1.  How will 2023 Census Person’s enumeration be conducted?

Answer: During the period of enumeration, a census official (enumerator) will visit each household in the assigned Enumeration Area (EA) with Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs) to enumerate members of the households and transmit data to the server for processing, evaluation and analysis. 

  1.  In which languages are the questionnaires available?

Answer: The questionnaires are available in English, Pidgin and the three major Nigerian languages. 

  1. Why do I need to participate in this year’s census if I was counted in 2006?

Answer: Over a period of 10 years, a country or household may experience dramatic changes. If you compare your family today to what was 10 years ago, it has changed. Family members may have died, others have been born and some have moved away. We need to get an accurate picture of how things are now in order to explore the diversity of the population, understand different lifestyles and to find ways and means to support them.

  1.  What are the questions asked during census?

Answer: Questions to be canvassed in the 2023 Census will include the following demographic socio-economic characteristics:

  • Name
  • Date of birth 
  • Place of birth
  • State of origin 
  • Birth registration
  • Literacy
  • Educational attainment
  • Work status
  • Marital Status 
  • Number of children 
  • Fertility and Child Survival 
  • Mortality
  • Orphan hood
  • Relationship status 
  • Nationality
  • Migration
  • Difficulty in Performing Activities 
  • Economic Characteristics
  • Information Communication Technology 
  • Household Characteristics such as sanitation etc.
  1.  How many Census functionaries should I expect?

Answer: One or two Enumerators and a Supervisor. Also, visitation from geo-monitors, if your household is randomly selected for quality assurance.

  1.  How can the public identify authorized census personnel from impostors? 

Answer: Every census functionary will have identification card (ID) that shows their name, photograph, expiration date for the ID, and a customized National Population Commission reflective jacket. 

  1.  How can citizens answer the census questionnaire, if they are not proficient in English or need language support?

Answer: The National Population Commission will make the 2023 Census questionnaire available in the three major Nigerian Languages and also in Pidgin.  

  1.  Are there plans in place to accommodate citizens with special needs during the forthcoming census exercise?

Answer: Special needs guides will be available to take data from special needs citizens using identified means of communication to record/register their details.

  1.  Can people ignore the census or refuse to answer it if they wish?

Answer: No, it is an offence not to answer questions therefore; maximum co-operation is expected from everybody.

  1.  What plan is in place for people who are sick and in hospital at the time of census? 

Answer: They will be counted in the hospital. However, information will be collected on their normal place of residence.

  1.  What makes this 2023 Census different from the previous ones?

Answer:  2023 Census will be the first fully digital and green census in Nigeria. Data will be collected through the tablets called Personal Digital Assistants. The data will be transmitted on real-time basis to a central server. 

  1.  Who will be counted in the 2023 Census? 

Answer: Everyone present in Nigeria at the time of enumeration will be counted, including foreigners, homeless and Internal Displaced Persons in the IDP camps. 

  1.  What about Nigerians living abroad, will they be counted also during census?

Answer: Census 2023 will only capture people living in Nigeria during the census period. So, Nigerians living abroad will not be counted.

  1.  What about non-Nigerians living in Nigeria?

Answer: Non-Nigerians will be counted too because they have to be planned for in Nigeria.

  1.  Do I need to travel to my hometown for the census?

No. You don’t need to travel to be counted. You will be counted in your usual place of residence. A census official will visit every household and institutions (boarding houses, hospitals, hotels etc.) to enumerate the persons residing there. Persons who are homeless or in transit on census night will also be enumerated where they are found that night. 

  1.  How will IDPs be enumerated?

Answer: IDPs will be enumerated where they will be living at the time of the Census. However, there usual place of residence will also be recorded.

  1.  How long does a census interview take?

Answer: The interview should be able to conclude within a reasonable time not more than one hour.

  1.  Will my information be disclosed to anybody? 

Answer: All individual information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any person or agency be it Government or private. 

  1.  Will the Census results reveal personal details of respondents?

Answer: No. The census data will be produced in aggregate form. That means National Population Commission ensures that personal details are protected and removed from any information used in its own work or that of other organisations including government agencies, academia, development partners and private sector users of census data.

  1.  How do I ensure that the information given by me is being correctly entered? 

Answer: In case you are in doubt, ask the Enumerator to read out your response to you in order to ascertain that the details are correctly entered. 

  1.  Do I need to show any documents to the enumerator?

Answer: The enumerator will take down all particulars as given by you. However, you may be required to show some documents like a birth certificate if available for clarity of information. But generally, it is expected that you will provide correct and authentic information.

  1.  Can I send my census information electronically? 

Answer: No. This is because the census process is De-facto. You have to be seen to be enumerated.  

  1.  Why is ethnicity and religion not included among questions to be asked in the 2023 Census?  

Answer: The 2023 Census will collect data on all demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population except ethnicity and religion. This is because of the sensitive nature of these two items in Nigeria. Including ethnicity and religion in the census will create tensions and controversy that will divert attention from the relevance of census data for national planning. It is therefore prudent to leave out these items in order to safeguard the census from controversies and risk of rejection by certain sections of the country. In any case, the access to facilities and infrastructure that will be engendered by accurate and reliable census will not be a function of one’s ethnic group or religious affiliation. 

  1.  Are we expecting any money or palliative to be given or shared to us for answering census questionnaire?

Answer:     No, a census provides accurate and reliable data that will facilitate national planning which will benefit every citizen. There will be no sharing of any palliative or benefits to individuals. To be counted during the census is a civic responsibility of everyone resident of Nigeria.

  1.  Can I be counted in different places during census period?

Answer:    No, you will be counted once and it does not matter if you move from one place to another. In any case, there will be restriction of movement during the census period. 

  1.  How will I know that the Census is being conducted? 

Answer: The scheduled date for the Population and Housing Census exercise will be well publicized through nationwide announcement and advertisements in both print and electronic media, NPC website and verified social media platforms.

  1.  What is census night?

Answer: Census night is the night immediately before the first day of enumeration. It is the night set for enumeration of some of the special population identified during building numbering and household listing. It is the reference point for census enumeration and all questions asked during enumeration will relate to that night. Everyone must take note of the census night date and remember to answer the questions accurately during enumeration. It is the period at which a snapshot (photograph) is taken about the people in the country. In order to help make the Census Night memorable, events will be organised in communities throughout the country to mark the night. 

  1.  What is the website for the 2023 Census recruitment?

Answer: https://2023censusadhocrecruitment.nationalpopulation.gov.ng

  1.  Whom do I contact in case my household is not covered? 

For any information or complaints, you can contact the NPC Hotline on 07000236787 or NPC Social Media Platforms and email address. A help desk will be opened in every LGA headquarters to respond to questions and complaints. 

  1.  What is 2023 Census Slogan?

Answer: You Count. Be Counted

NPC Website and Social Media Platforms:

Website: www.nationalpopulation.gov.ng 


Facebook: National Population Commission

Twitter: natpopcom

Instagram: npc_nigeria

YouTube: NPC Nigeria

Email: info@nationalpopulation.gov.ng 

Hotline: 07000236787

By News Editor

Our News Editor, Muyiwa is an information management expert and Development Blogger with more than a decade experience in investigative reporting and journalism. He is passionate about human angle stories to all social issues in Nigeria and Africa.