Do interviewers go?
Census researchers always announce their visit in writing. “Don’t ring the doorbell without warning,” Katja Wilkin, director of the general project for the 2022 census at the Federal Statistical Office, explained on Wednesday in Wiesbaden. The Federal Office said the date and a specific time window as well as contact details were indicated in the announcement.
The appointment can be postponed by arrangement. Interviewers may also identify themselves with a survey personnel ID, which is only valid with an official photo ID.
Should I allow the interviewer into the apartment?
The personal questioning is short and can take place at the door, and those who will be questioned do not have to let anyone into their apartment. The survey staff did not contact either—unless the respondents themselves had previously contacted them by phone, Wilkin continued.
In the census, more than 30 million people will be asked about various topics such as education or work over the next three months. The population survey is part of an EU-wide survey.
What is the purpose of the census?
The goal is to create a reliable planning basis for political and economic decisions at the federal, state and local levels. The purpose of the census is to determine the exact number of the population and to correct inaccuracies in the population records. In 2011, it turned out that the number of people living in many towns and communities is less than assumed – with painful financial consequences, since the amount of payments from the financial equilibrium system depends on the population.
Not all residents of the country are counted. Only a random sample should provide information about how they lived and worked. The individual living conditions or personal attitudes of the respondents were not surveyed. In order to obtain the desired quality of population figures across all societies, a greater proportion of men and women must be interviewed in small towns than in large cities, explains Alexander Grund of the Statistical Office in Baden-Württemberg. A full census is only conducted in shared accommodation such as student residences.
How do you calculate?
Households selected for the sample received a suggested date since mid-May. On the agreed date, the interlocutors come in person and ask questions about names, gender, marital status, date of birth, nationality and residential status. “Surveying officers do not enter the house or apartment without express permission,” Grund explains. The access data will then be submitted for an online survey with further questions about education and work. Online action is playing an increasingly important role for statisticians, also because of climate protection. All the paper questionnaires from 2011 stacked on top of each other would have gone over Mount Everest. If you have issues scheduling appointments, there is also the option of a phone interview.
What is charged?
About 10.3 million randomly selected people are asked for their name, gender, marital status, and nationality, among other things. According to the Federal Statistical Office, about three-quarters of people are also asked questions from an expanded questionnaire. This is about school leaving qualifications or a job. Nearly 300,000 people living in dormitories and shared accommodation have also been registered. No direct interviews are conducted with residents of shared accommodation. The facility manager presents the information there.
In addition, nearly all 23 million dwelling owners or management are required to provide information on their apartments and apartment buildings. Germany does not have a unified administrative register that records the stock of apartment buildings and apartments in all areas. That is why the census of buildings and apartments is an important part of the 2022 census, the Federal Statistical Office explained. For the first time, the net cold rent, the duration and reason for the vacancy as well as the energy source for heating are also queried. This addresses current data requirements and provides an important database for future planning.
Can I decline the entire survey or individual answers?
In order to ensure a high degree of accuracy of the results, there is a legal obligation to provide the information. If defendants fail to comply even after being reminded several times, penalties can be imposed. This is usually 300 euros. But officials do not expect much resistance.
About 100,000 interlocutors will be on duty by August. Trained volunteers are subject to statistical confidentiality. Job requirements are age, reliability, good knowledge of German and confidentiality. They receive tax-free compensation of an average of €700 from urban and rural areas for their work.
On average, how much time does it take to answer all questions?
According to statisticians, the effort expended by citizens is low. The on-site survey lasts a maximum of five minutes, and the answer to the online questionnaire is about ten minutes.
Why count despite the epidemic and the crisis of Ukraine?
The Government Statistics Office defends the point in time with long-term plans, impending additional costs and EU specifications. Another disproportionate delay.
What about data protection?
The Federal Statistical Office emphasizes observance of data protection requirements of the Federal Statistical Act and the General Data Protection Regulation. The data will not be passed to the authorities outside official statistics and will only be evaluated anonymously. In addition, personal data will be required to be processed and deleted as soon as possible. She added that only summarized results are being published, which does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about individuals, homes or buildings. Interviewers will be required to commit in writing to maintaining statistical confidentiality.
The data protection officer of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Stefan Brink, has nothing to complain about. “The census is not problematic in terms of data protection,” he says. The data will be immediately entered into the statistics. It is no longer possible to create a personal reference. He and his colleagues are watching the campaign closely. “We no longer see ourselves as unlike the state.” The latter relies on a wealth of information in order to avoid unwanted developments – not least the pandemic has shown.
When is the next census?
The European Union obliges its member states to conduct a population census every ten years. This could have been the case in Germany in 2021, but the date has been pushed back due to the Corona pandemic. That is why the next census will come after nine years, ie in the year 2031.
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