Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 3, No. 1, 2005
Pages 54-69

DOI: 10.36108/ijss/5002.30.0150

Nigeria’s 1991 Census in Retrospect: Fieldworkers’ assessment

E.N Nclsou-Twakor

Social development Department
Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan


This study is borne out of  the need to address the long-standing concern about the inadequacy of population data for development planning in Nigeria. In spite of the efforts of past governments, the population data available from various sources for planning and monitoring Nigeria’s development process remain highly unsatisfactory in terms of adequacy and reliability, The situation is attributable in part to the  irregular conduct of the census in the country and other associated problems. To achieve improvements in the quality of data obtained from censuses in the country, a critical evaluation of the administrative cum organizational aspects of the census is essential and the role of fieldworkers in this regard, cannot be underplayed. It is in this light that this study focuses on the 1991 census through the lens of the fieldworkers. In-depth interviews were used to obtain information from enumerators, supervisors and other functionaries involved in the 1991 census. The survey of census functionaries served to validate the report of the fieldworkers. The study sheds light on the appropriateness of some of the census strategies and administrative processes. The results will be of importance to census organizers and academics in their efforts at improving the  quality of the data collection process and of data obtainable from censuses.

Keywords: Census, fieldworkers, functionaries, recruitment, administrative and planning process


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