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The information generated by a population and housing census – numbers of people, their distribution, their living conditions and other key data – is critical for development. Without accurate data, policymakers do not know where to invest in schools, hospitals and roads. Those most in need remain invisible. Yet too many countries have out-dated or inaccurate information about their populations.

A census is among the most complex and massive peacetime exercises a nation undertakes. It does not merely count people; it can also measure fertility, mortality and movement, helping to predict demographic trends. And it can uncover inequalities in employment, education and wealth.

UNFPA aims to make sure no country fails to carry out a census because of financial or technical constraints. UNFPA provides technical support during all stages of a national census, and helps ensure the data are widely utilized and disseminated for development.