Social media surveys show that less than a quarter of Azerbaijanis were surveyed by the State Statistical Committee " />

Azerbaijanis left out by ‘official’ census speak out on social media

Social media surveys show that less than a quarter of Azerbaijanis were surveyed by the State Statistical Committee

Azerbaijan’s official population census will end tomorrow, but since the census began on October 10, the majority of Azerbaijanis have yet to be surveyed. 

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A population census in Azerbaijan is conducted every 10 years. The current census is the third since the country gained independence. 

More than 21 million manat [more than $12 million] was allocated from the budget for this year’s census. 

52 questions were prepared regarding age, education, nationality and much more. Nearly 34,000 volunteers across Azerbaijan were involved in recording data for the census. 

The deadline for the census was October 10, 2019. It was later postponed to October 15 without an explanation.

80 percent not surveyed 

Social media surveys show that about 80% of respondents were left out of the census. In the provinces, many were not aware that a census was even being held.

One such unsurveyed person was the economist Togrul Mashalli. When he was not surveyed by October 10 he posted a complaint on social media in which he tagged the State Statistical Committee. 

“The point of a census is not to rewrite my particular data. I, like other economists, use the Committee’s website almost every day. But now it turns out that they brazenly lie, and can’t be trusted. Precisely because of such censuses, we have both a social policy and an employment policy that are conducted incorrectly. We do not have real data”, Mashalli writes.

Mashalli’s frustration is reflected in the comments of everyday Azerbaijanis: 

“They stuck an announcement at our door that there would be a census, but no one ever came.” 

“In a regular state of law, the government should conduct a census for which budget money was spent. But everything is so neglected here. Talking about it is not even worth the anger.”

“I recently saw a census collector come to the office of a real estate developer and take a list of apartment owners. He said that they themselves would just add family members, occupation and age.”

“All this empty talk. They will simply confirm that the population is 10 million, as the president says. And that’s that.”

Varied experiences with census collectors

Those who were visited by the census collectors also shared their impressions on social media. Experiences were varied:

“Two men came to us, asked for our names and dates of birth, and left. They didn’t ask any more questions.”

“And they came to us twice already and recorded all the family members, including my sister, who is a citizen of another country.”

“I didn’t open the door to the census takers. I was reluctant to speak to them.”

Census results will be announced only in 2022.

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