Statistics Amendment Act 2015 Passes In House

June 1, 2015

Premier Michael Dunkley said that he was gratified at the bipartisan support of the passage of the Statistics Amendment Act 2015, which passed in the House of Assembly on Friday.

The intent of the Bill was to amend section 5[1] of the Statistics Act 2002 to provide the Government with the ability to conduct future censuses of population and housing from time to time.

“The public will recall that Bermuda’s last Census was conducted in 2010, and in June 2012 the Department of Statistics published the Report on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing,” a spokesperson said.

“The general benefit of a Census is that it provides a snapshot of the size and profile of the population and housing stock at a given point of time. Census data is used to devise effective strategies relating to infrastructure, education, health, employment and other economic and social issues.

“Census data is also used by the Constituency Boundaries Commission to determine the boundaries of each constituency, a function which must be undertaken no later than 7 years from the date on which the previous Commission submitted its report.

“The public will also be aware that Section 5[1] of the Statistics Act 2002 required that a Census of the population of Bermuda must be taken every five years.”

“The public is advised that delay of the Census will not be indefinite and the Government has committed to conduct a Census in the 2016/17 financial year.

“As an added note the proposed amendment does not prevent the Minister responsible from ordering a Census to be conducted in 2020 or whenever it is recommended that a Census should be taken.”

According to the Premier, “the Section makes eminent sense as there has always been a demand for current data, particularly as it relates to key statistics pertaining to employment, unemployment, household income, personal income and health data.

“More frequent censuses would ensure that the Government has current and, in some instances, real time data at our disposal in order to make effective decisions and to facilitate more accurate planning”.

The Premier added, “However, the benefit of obtaining data more frequently comes at a high cost, currently estimated at $1.7 million.

“Our National Budget for fiscal 2015/2016 reflects this Government’s prioritisation of urgent needs of the community and the need to reduce the budget deficit. Deferring the Census in 2015 allows the Government to allocate funds to more pressing initiatives.”

The Premier concluded, “Postponing the Census would also benefit the Department of Statistics by providing it with more time to investigate new on-line data collection initiatives. Use of an on-line data collection system will reduce the reliance on field interviewers which represents the highest cost in any Census.

“I am pleased with the bipartisan support we received on Friday which enabled us to pass what this Government considered important legislation at this juncture.”

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