Économie et Statistique n° 483-484-485The overhauled Census: progress in methodology and contribution to knowledge
Foreword Overhaul of the Population census: birth and realisation of an idea
This special issue of Économie et Statistique is devoted entirely to the overhauled version of the population census, which is currently in its third five-year cycle. The contributions in this issue come from both producers and users of this source. They give the reader a more in-depth understanding of some or other aspect of the new system ̵ data collection, representativeness, the questionnaire̵ ̵ and of the operations that are linked to it ̵ Family and Housing survey ̵ as well as describing some new applications. The introduction describes the importance of each of these contributions in more detail. In this foreword, we look back at the genesis and development of what was a very lengthy process for INSEE. From the first discussions in 1995 to the first census survey in 2004, ten years went by. The important features of these years were a considerable investment in methodology, a major transformation of relations between municipalities and State, a legal arrangement for statistics that was unprecedented in France, intense consultation with all those concerned and exemplary motivation on the part of the INSEE staff. With hindsight, we can say that the renovated census has well and truly taken its place in the French statistical landscape, without omitting any international requirements, while still remaining open to innovations. This result was by no means a foregone conclusion.