A census is the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and disseminating demographic, economic, social and spatial data pertaining, at a specific time, to all persons in a country or a well-delimited part of a country.
The population and housing census conducted every decade is a complete count of all the people and households in Liberia. The results represent a snapshot of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the populace of the country, thus enabling planners and policy-makers to measure changes in these characteristics over time. It is also the primary source of information about the number and characteristics of the population in each administrative area. It provides a sampling frame and related functional projections that are necessary for sector planning which affects public expenditure in the areas of education, agriculture and health.
The census exercise provides information on the number of people living in a particular area as well as information on housing, health, education, employment, migration, displacement and disability. The results of the census are important in identifying the extent and nature of social exclusion and resulting service need. Census results are vital in supporting local and national government efforts in planning, implementation and monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), as well as support of research and business decision-making processes.
The objective of this atlas is to present the 2008 Liberia Population and Housing Census in an accessible form for a variety of users in the public and private sectors. The atlas highlights the similarities and differences in the socio-economic and demographic conditions between the counties of Liberia, using a number of key variables in the form of maps, charts and tables. The maps show the spatial distribution of the population and their demographic characteristics within counties with brief description of each topic along with corresponding charts.
Due to the civil war, Liberia did not conduct the 1994 and 2004 rounds of censuses. However, on April 21, 2007, the 52nd National Legislature enacted the law empowering the Executive Branch of Government to conduct Liberia’s fourth census in March 2008. The population and housing census was conducted on March 28, 2008 and data collection lasted for a period of ten days.
The aim of the enumeration was to take a count of all persons who were within the border of Liberia by midnight of March 20th (Census Night). Enumeration started on March 21st including the canvassing of institutional and floating populations. The completed questionnaires/schedules were assembled at the divisional census offices for quick checks and validation, such that all cases which required call backs, were attended before the questionnaires were finally dispatched to Monrovia.
Data Entry and Processing
The results of the 2008 National Population and Housing Census were compiled and processed by County, District, Clan and Enumeration Area (EA). The Census Enumeration Area is the smallest census reporting unit. On the average, an EA contains 80-120 households or 496 residents.
The 2008 Census Atlas of Liberia
This atlas maps variables that describe the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population of Liberia as of March 21st, 2008 at county level. The variables that are mapped have been chosen with regards to their usefulness as indicators of demographic and social conditions in the country.
The atlas is intended for Liberian decision makers, development partners, planning agencies, educators and students. In addition, this atlas is being distributed not only to key individuals in government, but also to members of the National Legislature, non-governmental and civil society organizations, economic and social researchers, educational institutions and donors.
The maps in the atlas are produced using thematic mapping approach. This approach shows values for spatial units (such as counties) which are divided into a number of ranges that are represented by various colors or shading. Where maps show areas of deviation from the country average, the class intervals for the range have been chosen with reference to that average. Where needed, the maps are accompanied by textboxes, tables and charts. This is intended to provide concise information about the statistics being mapped and broadly describe the spatial patterns being shown.