Bulgaria First Ever Online Census Draws to Close
More than two million Bulgarians have so far taken part in the first online census that will close on Wednesday.
The national census kicked off in Bulgaria at midnight on February 1, making it the first EU country to hold a population count in 2011 and one of only seven member states with an online option.
The census questionnaire will be available for those choosing to fill it online on the website of the National Statistical Institute till midnight on February 9, 2011. From February 10 till February 28, 2011, census takers will visit households, homes, and buildings.
A total of 40 000 census takers will participate in the survey. On average, one census taker is expected to visit about 200-250 people and 80 households. New legislation provides for a BGN 120 fine to anybody who refuses to provide census information to the authorities.
Foreigners who live in Bulgaria cannot avail themselves of the online option, but still have to take part in the census.
Bulgarians, who work and study abroad, also have no access to the online census site outside the territory of the country. This has been done on purpose because Bulgarians residing in other EU Member States will be counted there.
The decennial census aims to collect full, exact, and adequate information about the condition of the population, economy, and society which are to be used to draft strategic documents for the development of the country – a National Program for Development "Bulgaria 2020" and a new 5-year plan for the absorption of EU funds – 2013-2017.
The information from the census is also expected to be taken into account when drawing the lists with eligible voters for the 2011 local and presidential elections. Experts have warned for years that the existing lists contain the names of many persons who are dead or have emigrated, which creates conditions for electoral fraud.
The campaign will end on March 1, when the percentage of Bulgarians who took part in the census will be announced. The complete data from the census will be made public at the beginning of April.
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