Linking Population and Housing Censuses with Agricultural Censuses
1. Regional Workshop for Monitoring the SDGs related to Food
and Agriculture Sector and on the WCA 2020
Nadi, Fiji 6-10 November 2017
Agricultural Census and Survey Team
FAO Statistics Division
Linking Population and Housing
Censuses with Agricultural
Technical Session 9b
• Relationship between the PHC and the AC
• Ways to link PHC and AC
• Main advantages of linking both censuses
• Collecting agricultural data in the PHC
• Questions related to agriculture in the PHC
• Country experiences
• Historically population censuses and agricultural
censuses were undertaken as two independent and
• Experience has shown that the coordination and
linkage of both operations have desired
consequences reducing costs, improving the building
of frames for the agricultural census, increasing the
overall quality of the censuses.
• The FAO World Programme for the Census of
Agriculture 2020 (WCA 2020) strongly recommends
that countries coordinate the agricultural census (AC)
with the population and housing census (PHC), during
the early stages of census planning. 3
4. CA and PHC: Some features
a. Statistical units:
- In the PHC: the household;
- In the AC: the agricultural holding.
The common unit is the household engaged in own-account agricultural activities.
Normally, there is only one agricultural holding in a household, and it is this one-to-
one correspondence which allows integration of the two censuses. Other cases can
be dealt with in several ways in order to match the holdings to the households.
In practice, countries decide on the most suitable approach in their context.
b. Ways to coordinate both censuses:
Use of common concepts, definitions and classifications;
Sharing field materials;
Using the listing of the population census as a starting point for the frame
for the household sector of the agricultural census;
Collecting agriculture data as additional items in the population census,
either as basic items or frame items through an agriculture module.
5. Main advantages of linking both censuses
• Reduction of the total cost of the two censuses (the same infrastructure,
logistics, equipment can be used for both censuses);
• Reduction of the scope of the agricultural census;
• Enrichment of data analysis from the two censuses;
• Ensuring regular agricultural census operations;
• Obtaining a reliable frame for the agricultural census;
• Optimization of sampling designs of the agricultural census;
• Better defining the agricultural census coverage.
The next slides provide more details on some of these advantages
6. Obtaining a reliable frame for the
• Access to an up-to-date and reliable frame of agricultural holdings –
including both household and non-household operated holdings - is a major
problem for the census of agriculture in many developing countries.
• The frame of agricultural holdings in the non-household sector can be
fairly readily compiled from land and business registers, lists of
large/commercial farms and other administrative and statistical sources.
• Building a frame of household-operated agricultural holdings is a much
larger and more complex task. It effectively means visiting all private
households to establish the extent of agricultural activity in each, and how
many separate holdings household members are engaged in. The PHC
provides a unique opportunity for identifying all agricultural households,
including in urban areas, for developing an up-to-date, reliable frame as a
starting point for agricultural censuses and surveys.
7. Optimization of sampling designs
of the agricultural census
In many developing countries agricultural censuses are
conducted using large samples to generate results at small
administrative unit level. Agricultural information collected
during the population and housing census can be used to
improve sample design and identify optimal sample size,
- To better stratify and allocate the sample between
strata and between different stages - when multi-stage
cluster sampling is used;
- To provide an up-to-date size measure - when
probability proportional to size (PPS) method is used.
8. Better defining the agricultural
• Minimum size limits, on variables such as numbers of livestock, numbers of tree
crops, area of land, value of annual sales, and purpose of production are used in
most countries to determine whether a household’s agricultural activity qualifies
as a holding or not.
• This basic information can be collected during the PHC through a separate
section in the household questionnaire. The information can also be collected as
part of the pre-census cartography and fieldwork.
• In addition to providing a frame, this has advantages for the design of the
agricultural census. For example, based on the agriculture-related information
collected during the PHC the minimum size criteria can be set for the AC. Efforts,
and resources for data collection in the AC could then be focused on the more
9. Collecting agricultural data in the
Two topics regarding agriculture-related items are recommended
by UN in the Principles and Recommendations for the PHC 2020
round to be included in the PHC:
1. At the household level, information is collected to
identify households engaged in own-account agricultural
2. At the individual person level, information is collected
to identify persons involved in agricultural activities
during a long reference period, such as a year before the
10. Collecting agricultural data in the
Identification of households engaged in own-account agricultural
production is especially useful for establishing a frame for a
subsequent agricultural census and surveys.
For this purpose, the basic items recommended by the WCA 2020 to
be included in a PHC are:
1. Whether the household is engaged in any form of own-
account agriculture production;
2. Measure of farm size, such as the area of land (or number
of plots) used for agricultural production purposes, and the
number of livestock.
Information on forestry, fishery and aquaculture activities may also be
collected through the population and housing census in cases when they are
important for a country. This information would facilitate the preparation of
the frame when countries wish to conduct a subsequent agriculture census
which goes beyond the scope of agriculture
11. Collecting agricultural data in the
Countries wishing to collect more extensive data on agriculture may
include an agriculture module in the population and housing census,
consisting of a selection from the listed frame items of WCA 2020, such as:
Item 0101: Identification and location of agricultural holding;
Item 0107: Main purpose of production of the holding
Item 0201: Total area of holding
Item 0301: Use of irrigation on the holding: fully and partially
Item 0401: Types of temporary crops on the holding
Item 0405: Types of permanent crops on the holding and whether in
Item 0502: Number of animals (by livestock types relevant for the
Item 1201: Presence of aquaculture on the holding
Item 1301: Presence of woodland on the holding
Item 1401: Engagement of household members in fishing activity
12. How to collect agriculture related data?
The required household-level information can be collected as part of
the main enumeration. In the case of the basic items these can
alternatively be included in the pre-census listing/cartographic phase
of the population census so as not to overburden the PHC
The latter approach has an additional advantage that the frame for
the AC can be compiled directly from the listing/cartographic exercise
without having to wait for the questionnaire to be processed.
The inclusion of an agriculture module or some agriculture-related
frame items in the PHC can be useful for countries planning to conduct
the AC as a modular approach. In this case the core module AC can be
collected during the PHC and the agriculture census would focus on the
supplementary modules, conducted on a sample basis.
13. Country experience
Census of Agriculture 2011 (CoA) and
Census of Population and Dwellings 2011 (CoPD)
Cook Islands conducted both censuses at the same time as an integrated exercise.
Both censuses used the statistical Enumeration Area (EA) for the allocation of households
and work areas.
In each Census District, the CoPD was first conducted. The list of households engaged in
agriculture and fishing in each EA was then passed to the CoA team which then visited
these households to complete the CoA.
Traditionally, the CoPD has collected a set of data related to agriculture, fishing and pearl
farming including the level of household activity, livestock numbers and machinery and
equipment. In 2011 data on livestock were dropped from the CoPD and only collected in
the CoA 2011. Data on machinery and equipment were dropped from the CoA 2011 and
maintained in the CoPD 2011.
The Ministry of Agriculture was responsible for the CoA while the Statistics Office was
responsible for the CoPD.