The General Census of Population, Housing and Establishments 2020 is one of the most important statistical projects in the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA). Law No. 2 of 2011 on Official Statistics and its amendments states in Article 2 that "The General Population Census shall be conducted at least once every (10) years and whenever necessary according to the Council of Ministers’ resolution. The Council of Ministers at its ordinary meeting No. 18 of 2017 held on 10/05/2017 have endoreced to conduct the General Census of Population, Housing and Establishments 2020.

The 2020 Census will be based mainly on the administrative records of various government agencies in the State, which represent the source bodies for census data. This represents a quantum leap in conducting censuses, in line with international statistical development and global trends in the use of administrative records in statistical processes and the production of indicators and statistical data in real time.

Scope of Census


Comprehensive and up-to-date data for individuals, households, buildings and establishments.


The 2020 Census project seeks to provide a comprehensive database through the extensive use of administrative records in statistical processes.

Importance of Census

The importance of census stems from the fact that it is the only statistical process that is conducted through an all-inclusive survey. It is an integrated image of the community at a specified moment. The census data represents a key base for population, housing and establishments statistics that concern planners, researchers and decision makers.

In general, the importance of census data is highlighted in the following areas:

  • Development Plans: They serve as a basis for all planning levels related to population, housing and establsihments.
  • The assessment of the availability of basic services for families, to identify areas in need of such services and to prioritize plans.
  • The census is considered to be the main source of information related to the size of labor force and its characteristics, as well aspects of education and training, current and projected levels of population, and national policies in this area.
  • Census provides an integrated framework for the families of the community, since sampling allows to conduct specialized field research.

Objectives Of Census Project

The main aim of the census is to create a high quality central register of population, housing and establishments data, with more comprehensive coverage and connected to a system for the continuous and simultaneous updating of this data.

In order to ensure the success of the census, further evaluations are required to determine the validity of the administrative records available for use in the census stages, as well as the testing and technical analysis of the electronic systems for information systems.

Sound planning for the implementation of this link through the quality control of data from its sources and the development of mechanisms and procedures necessary to ensure their safety and compliance with the conditions and continuous update, ensure the implementation of the 2020 census as fully as possible.

Census Data Sources

Data Sources of Census 2020

Data fields of the census were studied and a preliminary scenario was drawn up to shortlist the government agencies in the country that can possess such data. The number of data sources was 15, including the Planning and Statistics Authority. The fields were distributed among such sources as per the type of the required statement and the status of each group within the list of competent authority for that type of data.

Data Fields Required From Data Sources

After analyzing and enlisting the census fields, they reached 88 fields. However, when distributing such fields to the data sources based on the type of the statement required and placing each group of fields within the list of the authority tasked with this type of data, it has been found that a large number of fields are required by more than one source, especially the administrative data fields. Appendix (1) shows the required fields from each source and their response pertaining the availability of fields.

Implementation Schedule

Census Implementation Plan

Status Quo Analysis Phase (study and analysis of census forms and enlisting data requirements)

The variables required for the census were identified, 15 data sources were enlisted and addressed for electronic connection of data, and data exchange agreements were signed with 12 out of the 15 sources. In addition, the budget of the census project was approved, and all directories and concepts of the census were provided.

The availability of data on buildings, housing units and establishments has been evaluated and the data of households and individuals will be followed. Currently, we are working on meeting the rest of the requirements of this stage, including access to and evaluation of the systems and programs required for the census by consulting a company specialized in this field.

Database Configuration

The shortage of data on buildings, housing units and establishments has been solved. Once completed, data will be processed on households and individuals. In addition, geographical data was updated by linking building data with the geographical locations. Then, data of housing units and establishments will be linked to the geographical locations of the buildings. On the other hand, a workshop on the 2020 census was held for the producers and users of data. The study and analysis of the quality of data available in the records will be conducted, and a comprehensive electronic system for all stages of the census will be established.

Pilot Census

The electronic system of the census will be tested to ensure that all stages are complete and will be preceded by a census data test. Upon completion, the pilot census will be evaluated and the necessary treatments will be conducted based on the test outputs. Second phase of the pilot census is the field collection of the data of housing units, families and establishments.

Census Data Processing

The census will be carried out in the time frame set; 17 March 2020 and then the main results will be announced through a press conference.

Data Dissemination

Detailed results will be published and the final results of the census will be announced through a press conference accompanied by a forum, and then the analytical report of the census prepared for publication will be prepared and printed.

Quality Management


The General Census of Population, Housing and Establishments is the only statistical process that is conducted through a comprehensive inventory once every five or ten years. The concept of "quality assurance" is of great importance to statisticians in general and to censors in particular, as it greatly impacts data quality and accuracy, which is the result of strenuous efforts and significant expenditures made towards a successful census.

The quality assurance of the census data requires specific quality management procedures that are of great importance to the relevant United Nations bodies, which pay particular attention to the management of the General Censuses of Population and Housing, with the aim of obtaining accurate data that is a valuable resource for any society to be able to achieve its objectives in the overall development of the State and the sustainable well-being of its inhabitants.

Therefore, the entities that conduct censuses are keen to achieve the highest quality, so as to ensure good, reliable and accurate results. However, the steps to achieve quality were based primarily on the experience gained, personal diligence and dedication to work, without being subject to a program properly written or documented by those incharge.

First: Quality Assurance

The concept of "Quality Assurance" applies to the proverb "prevention is better than cure." The “Quality Assurance” focuses on preventing errors from hapenning by taking the necessary measures to improve the implementation of census steps, and not to correct errors. There is a famous saying: (Emphasis should be placed on improving rather than correcting the process), ie avoiding errors before they occur. The correction process may introduce other data errors, and may add much to the cost of the process.

Therefore, the "Quality Assurance" process focuses on achieving the best possible results, rather than relying on subsequent data correction processes. There is a common agreement that census data should satisfy data users. To do so, such data must be of high quality which is primarily related to accuracy. However, there are other dimensions of quality, such as the production of results in a timely manner. To achieve data quality, the following terms must be provided:

  • Provide data that meets user needs.
  • Easy and timely access to data.
  • Highly accurate and reliable data.
  • Ability to make international benchmarking.
  • Clear and easy-to-understand data for specialized and non-specialized users.
  • Use of metadata to clarify basic definitions and terms.
  • Cost-effective provision of data.

The Quality Assurance plan aims to improve the results of the General Census 2020 and its outputs. The census outputs can be described as quality outputs when the above terms are met. Bear in mind that despite efforts to implement “Quality Management” to achieve maximum quality, it is not possible to ensure that census data are free of simple errors and impurities that are filtered by the so-called "data revision" after examination and review. Therefore, practical phases of quality management and measurement must be developed across all census processes. These measurements will show the limits of data strength and vulnerability, and the need to use them in decision-making.

Objectives of Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance aims to achieve a successful Census within the time frame set in accordance with the allocated budget. The success criterion here comprises two main elements:

  • Producing high-accuracy data that meets the needs of users.
  • Producing census data on permanent basis.

A key decision in a census framework is to choose between timely dissemination and accuracy of data. Fortunately, the PSA officials have made an important decision based on the source administrative records of the implementation of the Census 2020, in order to keep abreast of the latest methodological developments in the implementation of modern censuses, which rely on administrative records. This represents a quantum leap in the implementation of censuses in the State of Qatar, achieving the two main elements mentioned above, namely, "producing accurate data on permanent basis".

It should be noted that census data users expect a high level of data accuracy provided by the Census Administration who should manage quality assurance and make every effort to achieve this goal.

Second: Quality Management

Quality management procedures are implemented at each stage of the Census as follows:

Quality Management in the Preparatory Work

Setting the Date of Enumeration
  • In line with the remarkable development witnessed by the State in the economic and urban aspects, the accompanying steady growth in the population and the changes reflected in the population structure, the Census 2020 is needed to measure the changes in the housing conditions and demography of the State.
  • The Council of Ministers’ Decision No. 18 of 2017 at its ordinary meeting held on 10.05.2017, on conducting the General Census of Population, Housing and Establishments 2020.
  • PSA has decided that March 2020 period will be the reference period for the coming Census.

In line with the accuracy and quality management controls, this date will achieve the following terms

  • The month of March 2020 achieves the term of stability of individuals avoiding holidays and vacations in the State.
  • The results of the Census 2020 will be extracted in April 2020.
Determining the Variables Required for the Census 2020

After extensive consultation with the data sources of the administrative records, the data that will form the database will be agreed upon and will form the main components of the census as follows:

  • Data and information on buildings in the State.
  • Data and information on housing units.
  • Data and information on enterprises in the State.
  • Data and information on individuals, households and labor compounds.
Pilot Census

In accordance with the UN recommendations, the pilot Census shall be carried out prior to the General Census of Population, Housing and Establishment to achieve the following objectives:

  • Testing the program design and technological systems and implement quality control procedures.
  • Ensuring the consistency of statistical data from different sources.
  • Ensuring that the data conforms to agreed statistical concepts and classifications.
  • Ensuring that the Census data collected from different sources is comprehensive.
  • Measuring the accuracy of data flow from its sources and tabulating it in the database.
  • The ability to extract census results easily and with high quality.

One of the key results expected from this experiment is to prove the efficiency of the administrative records to implement the Census.

The following are some important recommendations:

  • Allocate statistical, technological and technical support to source entities to assist them in applying the statistical concepts and classifications in force in PSA, as well as technological and technical support to standardize programs and systems to facilitate the process of linking with PSA.
  • Provide technical support in the operating room to facilitate follow-up and achievements.
  • Provide technical support to the call center to solve problems that may arise, fill in the missing data or verify the data by communicating with data sources, families or individuals.
Standarization of Statistical Classifications with Source Entities:

The preparation of new classifications to standardize the tabulation of Census data among all parties, including:

  • National Disability Index
  • Directory of Building Types in Qatar
  • Scientific Disciplines Guide

In addition to the guides in force at PSA, namely:

  • Economic Activity Guide ISCD4
  • Occupation Guide
  • Nationalities Guide
Electronic Link System

System Requirements

Initial Review

  • Review screens (for each source separately)
  • Processing screens to produce standard-based data
  • Update monitoring screens
  • Input screens
  • Coding screen

Final Review (after merging data from all sources)

  • Review screen
  • Input screen
  • Coding screen
  • Output screen

Guides and Concepts Used in the Census

  • Standard Education Guide (Education Guide).
  • Occupation Classification Guide (Occupation Guide).
  • National Classification of Economic Activities (Economic Activity Guide).
  • Standard Classification of Buildings in Qatar (Building Guide).
  • Nationalities Guide.
  • Disability Guide.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the message of the Census

The 2020 Census project seeks to provide a comprehensive database through the extensive use of administrative records in statistical processes.

What do Administrative Records mean?

Administrative records are the set of data that is produced from the administrative processes provided by different entities, especially the government agencies, to individuals, establishments and society.

What is the Census frequency?

The General Census is conducted every ten years at least and whenever the need arises based on the decision of the Council of Ministers.

When will field operations start?

In March 2020

Why the Census data is important?
  • Development plans: It serves as a basis for all planning levels related to population, housing and establishments.
  • Evaluation of the availability of basic household services, identifying areas in need of such services and prioritization of plans to care for them.
  • It is the main source of information on labor force size and characteristics, as well as aspects and current and projected levels of education and training for population, and national policies required in this area.
  • The Census provides an integrated framework for buildings, residential units, establishments, households and labor camps, allowing for proper sampling for specialized field research.
What is the purpose of the Census Project?

The Census aims mainly at creating a high-quality database for Population, Housing and Establishments, with a more comprehensive coverage, and is automatically updated on a continuous basis.

What is the methodology used in conducting the Census?
  • Determining the variables required for the Census, making an initial assessment to determine user requirements for data that can be provided through data sources, and those that may need to be compiled using traditional methods.
  • Identifying the Census data sources, and meeting and coordinating with the data sources to study, analyze and evaluate the availability of required data, and to study and determine the mechanism of updating data and providing the missing ones.
  • Preparation of guides, concepts and terminology to be used in Census data coding, and studying and determining the consistency of guides and concepts used in the Census with source data.
  • Working through joint committees with Census data sources to provide statistical methodologies that are tested to enable data linking and processing of missing and inconsistent data.
  • Preparation and processing of the systems and programs for the electronic link between the data sources and follow-up, auditing and coding programs.
  • Implementation of the electronic link and testing of data received from data sources, and ensuring its integrity, consistency and quality.
  • Conducting the pilot Census in June 2019, and evaluating its results, to determine progress in achieving the desired goals.
  • Implementation of the Census as planned in March 2020.
  • Announcement of the key results, followed by the detailed results and analytical reports of Census results.
  • Preparation of the main tables for annual publication after the year 2020 through the latest data received from the data sources.
What are the uses of Census data?
Uses of Census Data

The most important data provided by the Census is the population number and characteristics at the level of all the administrative units in the State in order to describe and assess their socio-economic and demographic conditions and to develop sound policies and programs aimed at enhancing the welfare of the State and its inhabitants.

One of the most important administrative uses of Census data is the demarcation of electoral districts and the distribution of the representation percentage of population in those districts.

Distribution of services according to population number and characteristics. For example, schools are built depending on the numbers and ages of male and female children. Hospitals are also constructed in areas where more are needed according to population growth in those areas. The same applies to determining the need to establish new markets or business centers.

The Census data also highlights the current characteristics of the members of this society, comparing them with the characteristics resulted from previous censuses, and identifies the extent of change in different socio-economic and demographic conditions, such as educational level, marital status, people with special needs and use of computer and Internet for both males and females, as well as other comprehensive data.

Studying the demographic structure of society to determine the numbers and variables of population. Studying the development of the population numbers, nationalities and various characteristics to identify their needs of goods and services that better suit them, as well as taking many important strategic actions in view of their large numbers that represent a major cultural and social challenge.

Estimating sources of labor force and number and distribution of workers by occupation and economic activity, as well as drawing an accurate picture of the extent of unemployment in society, and the numbers and proportion of the unemployed in each age group by educational level.

The Census further provides important data on the housing conditions of households, such as: number of rooms and their relation to household size and number of members, the degree of overcrowding in the house, as well as the house connection to public utilities (water, electricity and sanitation). The Census also helps to determine the availability of information and communication devices in households as well, in order to measure the evolution of the standard of living.

The Census provides a comprehensive and up-to-date framework for the names of household heads, whether Qatari or non-Qatari, as well as the names of small and large workers' communities, that serve as a basis for the implementation of future household sample surveys and research.

Use of Building Census Data

The Census provides detailed data on the number of buildings, their types, current status, uses, ownership, year of construction, connection to public utilities and geographical distribution in all administrative units in the State.

The census also provides data on the number, types, and components of residential/ establishment buildings, comparing them with previous censuses, to see how much progress has been made in the State’s recent urban development and to know the numbers, types and characteristics of various buildings, whether complete or under construction.

The Census further provides data on the number of building floors, which helps to study the phenomenon of (vertical expansion) and how to optimize the use of land and determine agricultural, industrial and residential lands in different regions of the State or the lands with the high population density, and the impact on the efficiency of facilities, roads and services. This would ultimately help to lay development plans at different planning levels.

Monitoring the number of housing units, their types and status: occupied for housing or work, or are closed or vacant, as well as their geographical distribution, which helps to establish a housing policy on a sound basis and determine the future need of the population of these units.

Use of Establishments Census Data

The Census provides accurate and up-to-date data on the number of establishments in all administrative units and their status: whether they are operating, halted, closed, under preparation or empty.

The Census also provides sufficient data on the operating establishments, in terms of their sector or economic activity and their nationality and legal status.

The Census further provides detailed data on the numbers of male and female workers, whether Qatari or non-Qatari, which helps to estimate the needs of the labor market for expatriate labor, and determine the required numbers and characteristics.

The Census provides a comprehensive and up-to-date framework for all establishments operating in the State, which will be the basis for the implementation of future economic surveys, in order to serve the economic development plans that are linked to the national accounts.

In fact, the above are not all the uses of Census. Since, the Census data is the cornerstone of the statistical system, the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) provides these data in different ways. PSA has published a set of census tables on its website, and has printed a large number of these tables on CDs. However, hardcopy publications remain the preferred option for documenting the Census results for many researchers in various countries.

Improving women's social and economic role and status in society

In recent decades, attention has increased to the role and status of women in society, and has become a fundamental issue as women represent half of the population in society. Governments have become interested in all statistics on women to formulate programs and identify policies to improve and develop women's social and economic role and status in society. One such study is the gender study adopted by the United Nations.

Knowledge and identification of special population groups

Attention has been further paid to certain special population groups such as children, youth, the elderly and persons with special needs, to obtain adequate data on these groups so as to plan programs and policies that serve their interests.

Use of Census data for research and study purposes

The Population, Housing and Establishments Census data is a rich source of data for demographic, social and economic research.

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