7 million people volunteer as China commences once-a-decade census

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About seven million volunteers and community workers will execute a two-month period of data-collection effort, visiting homes ranging from residential skyscrapers in downtown Shanghai to remote Tibetan mountain villages as China commences its once-a-decade national population census.

The second world’s biggest economy will conduct its census to determine the population growth, movement patterns, and other trends, using the findings to apportion resources for education, health, transportation, labour, elderly care, and other services.

At the last count in 2010, the country recorded 1,339,724,852 persons, an increase of 5.83 per cent, or 73,899,804 people, equal to adding more than the population of France over 10 years.

The exercise which has already begun will take two years to fully compile, according to a source.

Authorities say the headcount will determine if there is a sharp increase after the relaxation of its “one-child policy” which was quashed in 2016 after it was introduced in the 1970s.

Also, they are estimating the 2020 census to rise by 5.99 per cent or 1.42 billion.

According to a research institute affiliated with real estate giant, Evergrande Group, last week in a study made public, says the government’s figure was an overestimate and recommended that three children be allowed in the country.

“If adjustments are not made, it will seriously affect national rejuvenation and China’s rise as a great power,” the researchers said, citing two of the stated goals of President Xi Jinping.

In a diverse view extracted from a messaging platform, WeChat which was widely” liked, it says, “even a ten-child policy is useless until we create a society that is childbirth-friendly and childrearing-friendly.”

However, many Chinese are worried about the privacy of their data that would be collected but the National Statistics Bureau, which oversees the census, vowed in May that all personal data gathered during the process will be kept strictly confidential and used for no other purpose than the census.

Also, in mid-October, the government separately unveiled a draft personal data protection law, which outlines stiff punishments for violators.

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