Armenia began on Wednesday its second census since independence which is aimed at not only counting the country’s population but also ascertaining its living conditions.
More than 12,000 enumerators hired by the National Statistical Service (NSS) are supposed to visit every home in the country and ask its residents 33 questions on their sex, education, employment and other personal information for the next ten days.
“We want to have a good idea of the plight of the people, of where they live, whether or not they have telephone or Internet connection,” Vartan Gevorgian, head of an NSS division in charge of the population count, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Gevorgian said the census will cost the state 2.4 billion drams ($6.4 million). It is not clear if the government has received financial assistance from Western donors for that purpose.
The donors already provided 80 percent of some $2 million that was spent on the first post-Soviet survey of Armenia’s population conducted in October 2001. According to its results, the country numbered approximately 3.2 million residents, a substantial decrease from the late Soviet era resulting from the poverty-driven mass out-migration of the early 1990s.
The most recent NSS estimates put its number at 3.27 million. Government critics and some demography experts say the figure is inflated.
Under Armenian law, the government is obliged to hold a census once in every ten years.
According to Gevorgian, the first preliminary findings of the latest population count will be made public early next year. The NSS will release its final results in 2013, he said.
“It’s a quite time-consuming work,” added the official.