Register-based census

Document date: 
Thursday, 9 May, 2019

Register-based census

The Register-based census system is built around a set of Base registers that contain comprehensive data on the units that are to be described in the population and housing Census. These Statistical registers may include the data maintained in a Population register, a Register of buildings and dwellings, as well as data from a business register. Such Registers cover all people resident in the country, the buildings and dwellings in the country and all the business companies (including all the institutions in the public sector) and their establishments. All Statistical units can be linked to one another by means of the identification systems: persons can be linked to Household-dwelling units and to the dwellings and buildings in which they live, while employed persons can be linked to their employers. Similarly, all units can be located on the maps by using local area codes or map co-ordinates.


Primary source: CODED (Definition of Register-based population census in CODED)


In the Register-based census, the data are obtained from various Registers and Administrative sources (Population registers, “Building registers”, “Tax registers”, “Social security registers”, “Business registers”, “Student/education registers”, etc.) through Data integration. Linkage is normally done by making use of a personal identification number that is unique to each individual and included in the various Registers. Data from earlier population Censuses and Register data from the same point of time are also consulted in constructing these rules. This approach includes decision rules on prioritisation between different sources in the event of contradictory data.


An increasing number of countries now rely on data derived from Administrative registers, in order to produce some or all of their population and housing statistics. The statistics are produced either by enumeration of the Registers, by deriving the statistics in a Register-based census or by a Combined census method. Linkage of social, demographic and economic characteristics can provide an integrated view.


In a completely Register-based census all the information is obtained from various Registers. In a Combined census only some information is taken from Registers while other information on selected Variables is collected through field operation.


Census, Combined census, Rolling census, Statistical product

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