5th March 2018



There was no reliable collection of data on ethnicity in the 2017 Census. As a result, no data on ethnicity could be accurately aggregated or released as part of the 2017 Census.

There was a question on ethnicity posed in the census questionnaire. However, during our review of the data and methods of collection, we uncovered a number of anomalies in the way data on ethnicity was collected that severely compromised the objectivity and completeness of the data set on ethnicity.

It was found that many enumerators failed to verbally ask for the respondent’s ethnic background. Instead, the data was collected based on the enumerator’s observed assumption of the respondent’s ethnicity.

Many enumerators also assumed the entire household’s ethnicity based on one household member, failing to account for households with multiple ethnicities.

It was also reported by enumerators that many respondents refused to disclose their ethnic background.

Fortunately, we have not seen these issues in the collection of any other data sets as part of the 2017 Census. The remaining unreleased data from the 2017 Census is still being aggregated and will be released in due time.



Epeli Waqavonovono

Government Statistician