Censuses in a Register-Based Statistical System: Norwegian Experiences
Espen Andersen, Harald Utne
Department of Social Statistics, Statistics Norway, Oslo, Norway

The last fully traditional census in Norway was conducted in 1960. In 1964 the Central Population Register was established, introducing a unique personal identification number. In the following years a number of administrative registers were established, all using the same identification number. Statistics Norway developed register-based statistics in several fields, and the role of register data in censuses increased over the years. In 2001 only information on households and dwellings was collected from census forms. The 2011 Census in Norway will be totally register-based. Data for the 2011 Census will be extracted from a register-based statistical system that is common for a number of statistics. The system is built around three basic registers: The Central Population Register, the Business Register and the Cadastre. In addition to the information contained in the basic registers, a number of other registers are used in the census. For example registers on employment and unemployment, education, income. In total about 30 major register sources will be used and in addition a number of minor registers. All statistical units relevant for a census are linked to on another by using common identifiers: identification numbers for persons and businesses and numerical addresses.

In 2008 the European Union adopted the regulation on population and housing censuses. Replacing the former “gentlemen's agreement” by a law means that fulfilling the requirements for census data is more important than before. Every country is free to decide on data collection methods as long as the data fulfill the requirements for a Census. There are several challenges related to how to comply with the new international census requirements when using registers only. Administrative data are collected to fulfill administrative needs. In the process of transforming administrative data into statistical data there are challenges related to quality and relevance of the different administrative registers.

Keywords: Census; Administrative registers

Biography: Espen Andersen is a member of the Population and Housing Census 2011 project group. The 2011 Census will to be totally register-based, using data from administrative registers only. He was also member of the Census 2001 project unit. The 2001 Census was a mixed approach using both census forms and administrative registers.