2010: Year of the census in India and China
April 6, 2010

India has just kicked off its 15th census, one of the world’s largest administrative projects, the Indian census will provide demographers with exhaustive statistics on the name, age, sex, education levels, purchasing decisions, nationality, assets people own, homes, cars, mobile phones, Tv’s and computers etc. It will decide whether the northern states are still the major contributors to India’s population and whether the southern states are fast reaching their demographic dividend.

The census which has been conducted every decade since 1872, will also highlight how close India’s population is to China’s in terms of demographics and purchasing decisions. India’s has a population of nearly 1.2 billion growing at more than 1.4 percent annually, China meanwhile houses about 1.3 billion people but is growing at a much lower 0.65 percent, according to the CIA World Fact Book.

China is expected to start its sixth national population census in November this year. China’s census will be carried out by various agencies, including Communist Party units, commune leaders and factory heads while India’s census is conducted by the single Registrar and Census Commission set up by the Government of India.

When both nations populations have been measured and assets accounted for, data will be available for more than one-third of the world’s population.

Interestingly, this year both censuses will reign in new counts for their populations. While China has decided to include expats working for more than six months in China as part of the census, India is collecting biometric data from everyone over the age of 15 as part of a process to provide all Indian citizens with identity cards. These id cards will ultimately enable citizens to obtain vital services such as ration food and education.

Completion and analysis of the census data from both the world’s most dynamic economies will provide demographers with interesting information as to the changes high growth and development can bring about. Marketing decisions will be re calibrated, growth potentials will be forecast, policies will re-planned and comparisons between the two nations will become more interesting. The census will also provide vital information on China and India’s booming rural areas where information is scarce but growth potential is high.

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