A population forms the basis for the production and distribution of material wealth in a country. In order to plan for, and implement, economic and social development, administrative or scientific research, it is necessary to have reliable and detailed data on the size, distribution and composition of the population.
The population census thus becomes the basis for these benchmark data. The last Population and Housing Census was done in the Turks & Caicos Islands in May 1990, since a census is taken every ten years in most countries another census was taken in the middle of this year (2001). This census was expected to produce some interesting results, taking into consideration the significant changes that have taken place throughout the country- economically, socially and otherwise.
B. Historical Review
Documented facts indicate that the first census in the Turks and Caicos Islands was taken in 1891 as part of a demographic Survey of the British Empire (source: Kuczyski-1891-1943). Ever since, a decennial census was taken except in the year 1930. It is believed that this was due to a major social upheaval (World War I) in the world.
In 1960, for the first time, the planning and execution of the Census of Population and Housing followed the guidelines that were established by the Regional Census Co-ordinating Committee, an initiative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). As a result, the concepts and definition used in this, and censuses to follow, allowed for comparability at both the regional and international levels.
Again in 1980, the coordinated approach was used to plan and conduct the 1980 Census of Population and Housing; however the national office was responsible for the actual execution.
Censuses were taken in 1990 and again in 2001 and, as in previous censuses, the planning and managing of the census was based on the principles and guidelines set out the by Regional Census Co-ordinating Committee (RCCC).