City's expats covered in national census

Yang Jian
China's seventh national population census will include foreigners living in Shanghai on November 1 but exclude those here for a short stay such as business trips or family visits.
Yang Jian

Expats living in Shanghai will be part of China's seventh national population census, with staff visiting them at their homes. 

The census, which officially kicks off on November 1, will cover foreigners living in China, said Shi Fang, vice director of the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

Foreign travelers and those on short-term stays, such as business trips or family visits, are excluded.

Census enumerators will be visiting the households of foreign residents up to November 15.

The information collected will include names, relationship to the head of the household, gender, date of birth, purpose of staying in China, duration of stay, educational attainments, nationality and housing conditions.

"Notices about the census in English and Chinese will be posted at local international communities to invite foreign residents to cooperate with the staff and take part in the census in time," Shi said at a press conference on Tuesday.

China conducts a national population census every 10 years. The last census in 2010 revealed the nation’s population had increased to 1.37 billion.

Shanghai’s overall population, age structure and numbers of out-of-towners and the elderly, have seen great changes since the last census. The data serve as the most basic parameter for all kinds of planning and research, Shi said.

“For a super megacity like Shanghai, clear demographic data are important to drive the modernization of urban management,” she said.

The information will be used to analyze the trend of the city’s demographic change, providing support for mapping economic and social development strategies.

For Chinese citizens, the census will collect data including name, ID number, gender, marital details, education, profession and housing.

ID numbers are being collected for the first time so that the data can be verified with the administrative records of the police and health authority to enhance the efficiency and quality of the data, Shi said.

Citys expats covered in national census
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

The last census in 2010 revealed the nation’s population had increased to 1.37 billion.

A bulletin on the main census data will be published by April 2021 after processing, summarizing and evaluation. Subsequent research will support urban management and policy making.

Census staff has been visiting residences since October 11 to gauge housing and demographic conditions. The official registration will begin on November 1, when a random 10 percent of residents will be required to fill in a more detailed form. Data collection will be completed by December 10.

“Local people are required to show their ID cards and provide the information of the family members who are abroad or away from Shanghai,” Shi said. Chinese citizens not settled abroad are included in the census, such as the students studying abroad who cannot return due to the COVID-19 pandemic and those on short overseas business trips.

Shanghai has recruited over 130,000 enumerators and instructors for the census. They include community workers, property management staff, building chiefs and volunteers. They’ve received training and taken exams before being certified to conduct the census. 

Each enumerator will take charge of the data collection of 80 households or 250 people. Every five enumerators will be supervised by an instructor.

They must have temperature checks and take disinfection measures before visiting local households, and must wear masks. 

“Additional prevention measures will be launched according to the city’s coronavirus condition and prevention guidance,” Shi said.

Residents can also use mobile devices to declare their personal and family information. They must finish the online declaration by November 5, or enumerators will pay another visit.

All the personal information collected will be confidential and under protection according to the nation’s Statistics Law and census regulations, Shi said.

Each staff member has signed a confidential agreement and any violation will lead to legal punishment, she said.

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