Kenya is a success story with regard to the implementation of population censuses in the sub-region, and has strictly adhered to the UN Principles and Recommendations governing each round of census-taking globally. Since independence Kenya has conducted decennial censuses, in 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009. The 2009 Census was conducted against the backdrop of increasing demand for evidence-based decision-making, hence the need to release accurate and comprehensive results promptly. Thus, an integral part of the data processing strategy was to put together a system that would enhance both processing speed and accuracy.
After several consultations, including a tour of duty at the US Census Bureau and also drawing from the lessons of the last census, a decision was made to use the Integrated Computer Assisted Data Entry (ICADE) system. The main considerations in choosing this system were the budget and availability of technical knowhow. The Census Bureau supported the acquisition of the software and agreed to provide technical assistance throughout the processing, supported by USAID-Kenya. The ICADE system processed over 10 million double-sided A3 forms in a record eight (8) months.
The ICADE system has several integrated checks and balances, including, inter alia, form design and tracking device, ability to adjust probability of character recognition and do automatic sample verification, and keying from image. Even with this level of integration and preparedness several challenges were still experienced, including offsite questionnaire storage, no-strict adherence to printing specs, frequent power outages, and a cautious and slow acceptance of the new system.
Overall, the system performed beyond expectations, resulting in fairly clean data file from which comprehensive results were processed and released within a year of the enumeration.
Keywords: Census; Data processing; Kenya; ICADE system
Biography: i hold a PhD in Demography from University of Pennsylvania, USA. Currently, i am the Director for Population and Social Statistics at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, and was the Technical Director of the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census. I'm also a part-time lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. My research interests are in mortality and health regimes in Africa.