Two years overdue, Brazil starts to carry out its census

census monitoring
Photo: Tomaz Silva/ABr

Brazil on Monday started its nationwide census, two years after its original timetable was delayed by the pandemic and budget constraints. 

Carried out every ten years, the Brazilian census is pivotal for policymaking. It forms the basis of the government’s decisions on anything from school funding and vaccine policies to electoral districting.

Per the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), up to 183,000 field agents will visit 75 million households over the next three months. The agency expects to count around 215 million people, making Brazil the sixth-most populous country in the world, just behind Pakistan.

This will also be Brazil’s first fully digital census. All data collection, transmission, and processing will be on electronic equipment. After being visited by an IBGE field agent, respondents will also be able to answer the survey’s questions either by phone or online.

The full operation is expected to cost BRL 2.3 billion (USD 450 million).

The census was first delayed in 2020 because of the pandemic. The following year, the Jair Bolsonaro administration did not include funds for the Census in the budget, delaying it for one additional year.

IBGE is expected to disclose the census’s first results by the end of this year.