In year 2021 Croatia conducted a population census which happens every ten years. Mr Nenad Pokos, a Croatian demographer and professor, commented on it and said in the interview for the regional news channel N1: “The price of Slovenian register-based census in 2011 was one million euros, and the Croatian traditional census in 2021 cost 24 million euros. We (Croatians) spent 24 times more, and there are 2 million fewer citizens in Slovenia than in Croatia“. The claim turns out to be mostly true.
To check if the demographer’s statement is true, we decided to check the price of the Slovenian census in 2011, the price of the Croatian census in 2021, the difference between the number of citizens in Slovenia and Croatia, and the difference between the costs in above-mentioned censuses.
Slovenia switched to register-based census method in 2011
Croatia uses traditional census as a method. It is conducted by going from household to household where enumerators fill out DZS’ forms according to citizens’ responses. In 2011 Slovenia switched from traditional census method to register-based. That is a method of collecting data by linking existing administrative and statistical sources and databases without using a field survey. According to Statistical Office RS, the 2011 census cost 10% of the traditional census from 2002. In this way they saved at least 10 million euros, which means that the census cost them one million euros in 2011. Therefore, part of Mr Pokos’ statement that the census in Slovenia cost one million euros is true.
The price of the Croatian census in 2021
Furthermore, while the official cost of the Croatian census in year 2021 will be known in year 2022, two sources provide information about the allocation of resources for this activity. First, the Croatian government allocated approximately 23.6 million euros from the state budget for the 2021 Census – 21.7 million euros for the Central Bureau of Statistics for the period between the year 2018 and 2022, and 1.9 million euros for the State Geodetic Administration.
This cost is slightly at odds with the numbers published in December 2020 in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia, Narodne novine, according to which the Central Bureau of Statistics received 23.3 million euros for the Census 2021 for the period from 2019 to 2022. Furthermore, according to the Croatian Official Gazette the State Geodetic Administration received approximately 1.9 million euros. After summing up, as stated in Narodne novine, the cost of Croatian Census 2021 was approximately 25.2 million euros.
Even though the costs from these two sources do not match completely, it must be taken into consideration that these were assessments done before conducting the census. Therefore, Mr Pokos’ assessment that the cost of the Croatian census 2021 was 24 million euros is an estimate which is in line with the numbers we found.
The number of citizens in Slovenia and Croatia
Moreover, Mr Pokos said in his statement that there are 2 million fewer citizens in Slovenia than there are in Croatia. To check the truthfulness of that statement, we consulted the web pages of the Slovenian statistical office and the results of the last Croatian census in 2011. Due to the register-based method of population census, Slovenia publishes statistics on the number of inhabitants several times a year. The last report was in July 2021, according to which there were 2.107.007 inhabitants in Slovenia. According to the last census in 2011, Croatia had 4.284.889 inhabitants. Even though we do not have the current numbers of the population of Croatia, according to this data, Croatia has 2.177.882 more inhabitants than Slovenia does. Considering that Professor Pokos probably presented a rough estimate to make a point, we consider this statement to be quite accurate.
Did Croatia spend 24 times more than Slovenia?
The price of the Slovenian census in 2011 was approximately 1 million euros, and the price of the Croatian census in 2021 was between 23.5 million euros and 25.2 million euros, or as Professor Pokos estimates – 24 million euros. Hence, Croatia has spent around 24 times more euros on its census that Slovenia did.
After analyzing numerous sources and after contacting Professor Pokos for information about the sources for the statement, we believe this statement is mostly true. It is important to point out the sources which were given to us by Profesor Pokos were not accepted at face value. The reason we proclaim the statement mostly true is based on our perception that the numbers in the statement were ‘rounded up’ to emphasize the significant difference between Censuses, which is undoubtedly present. To sum up, even though the statement was slightly exaggerated to make a point, it is based on valid data which in essence back Pokos’ statement.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Lucija Basa & Ivana Milčetić, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb
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