General census of Lithuania completed

  • 2001-04-19
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - An eight-day count of population and housing was held in Lithuania from April 6 to 14 following a United Nations recommendation to conduct a general census in or around the year 2000.

Some 11,500 census officers visited all people living in Lithuania and interviewed them in their homes. Jurgita Karveliene, a young woman in her 20s, was one of them.

"There were some fears that it would be tough work. But people were very generous with their information and were answering our questions. Just a handful were afraid to say where they worked," Karveliene told The Baltic Times.

Petras Adlys, general director of the Lithuanian statistics department, commented during the census that people should not worry that information would go to the tax inspection office.

"This data will stay only within our department. And people have the right not to answer any questions they do not want to," Adlys said.

There are some 3.7 million inhabitants in Lithuania, according to the statistics department. Adlys explained that there may be some revisions of statistics like these.

"We estimate that there should be a few less people," he said.

Centrist MP Kestutis Glaveckas has estimated that more than 200,000 young people have emigrated westwards during last the 10 years. Adlys says this is an exaggeration, but he agrees that there will be less Lithuanians in Lithuania.

Emigration is not the only reason. The hedonistic Western lifestyle has overtaken much of Lithuania; young people are less eager to create families than they used to be, and the birth rate is falling.

Adlys said that almost all the population will have been counted. "There are, of course, always about 1 percent of people in every society who do not want to be counted at all," he said.

The population count was designed to gather information about population numbers and distribution in cities and rural areas by sex, age, ethnic origin, religious affiliation, education, employment, professional composition, numbers and sizes of families, and the supply and quality of housing.

Data about actual sources of income will act as some indication as to the social situation in society. Information will also be compared with that of other countries and used to substantiate virtually all social programs both within the country and in international organizations. Those people who did not want to be visited by census officers at their homes had the opportunity to go to municipality statistics offices and fill out the questionnaires themselves.

The first results of the survey – on population numbers, age and sex – are expected in October. Other data should be systematized by the end of 2002.

Lithuania took its last general census in 1989.