Économie et Statistique n° 483-484-485 - 2016The overhauled Census: progress in methodology and contribution to knowledge
European censuses: centrifugal movements and restoring forces
By abandoning the traditional form of the exhaustive periodic census around the end of the 2000s, France and INSEE were part of a general movement in Europe to reform the way that population censuses are carried out, especially during the last decade. Some countries give population registers a role to play, while others opt for surveys, and still others maintain the traditional format. To this is added a multitude of methods for collecting information from individuals and households. To this diversity of modes of collection within Europe, are added significantly different choices in the topics covered by the census and the form of questions asked. Should we give up all hope of producing a coherent map of the European population and its main characteristics? The response of the European Union and Eurostat consists in giving countries a free choice in the procedures they adopt, on condition that they respect a certain number of key concepts, so that comparable results can be produced in the different countries (regulation of 9 July 2008). This reconciliation between diversity in the methods and harmony in the results falls within the perspective opened up over the last fifty years by recommendations produced by the United Nations then by the Conference of European Statisticians. Today, the Census Hub, inaugurated in 2014, represents the successful completion of this work.