Friday, August 19, 2011

Serbia Readies for Population Census

Thousands of Serbians have been queuing across the country to become official data collectors in the country's upcoming population census.

Bojana Barlovac

Among those were several hundred people waiting in front of the entrance to the building of Palilula municipality in Belgrade on Wednesday to apply for one of the 41,000 jobs on offer.

Unemployment currently stands at 22 per cent and the data collectors earn 210 euro for 15-hour days over the two weeks. The avarage monthly salary in Serbia is 350 euro.

The most important criterion when selecting candidates will be handwriting, and the unemployed and students will be given preference.

The head count in Serbia, to be held between , set to be held between October 1 to 15, was supposed to take place in April 2011 but has been delayed for six months due to a lack of funding. The survey will be partially funded by the EU.

The agricultural census will take place from October 1 to December 15, 2012.

The last population census was carried out in 2002, while Serbia has not had an agricultural census since 1960.

Ahead of the the 2011 census, the issue of whether Kosovo will be included has been hotly debated. Belgrade does not recognise Kosovo's independence, declared in 2008, and maintains that Kosovo remains a province of Serbia.

Pristina held its own census earlier this year, but was unable to obtain data in many areas were Serbs are a majority.

The Serbian government has agreed with the EU that the census in the Serb-dominated north will be carried out with the help of the UN Office for Project Services, UNOPS.

The first preliminary results of the census will be known on November 15 and the final data will be published during 2012 and 2013.

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