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Conducting a survey in residential establishments and collective living quarters – to get correct numbers of inhabitants!

The census test of 2001 and the 1987 Population Census showed that the population registers are particularly inexact for residential establishments and collective living quarters for a variety of reasons. Therefore, to obtain a reliable number of inhabitants of municipalities, the data on all occupants of residential establishments and collective living quarters were collected in the 2011 Census. These data were used for statistical correction of the population register data received for the reference date.

The residential establishments and collective living quarters were divided into non-sensitive and sensitive facilities. In non-sensitive collective living quarters such as boarding schools, student residences, monasteries and old people’s homes, the occupants were interviewed in person.

Sensitive facilities include in particular living quarters where the information that the persons belong to the facility might create a risk of social discrimination. This is why the survey involved particularly demanding data protection requirements. In sensitive facilities such as prisons, emergency shelters for the homeless or psychiatric facilities, the management acted on behalf of the occupants, providing information either to specially trained interviewers or through an online procedure.

What was collected?

A small number of data were sufficient to determine the number of inhabitants: In accordance with the 2011 Census Act (Section 8), the variables covered were surname and first name, sex, marital status, date of birth, place of birth, country of birth, citizenships, date of moving into the residential establishment or the collective living quarter, and housing status (sole, main or second residence).

The addresses of some non-sensitive residential establishments or collective living quarters were selected at random for the household survey. In this case, an extended list of questions was used which included questions on education and employment.

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