YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s government has scheduled the next national census for October 2011 and hopes that it will be mostly funded by foreign donor organizations, a senior official said over the weekend.
The decision stems from an Armenian law that requires the authorities to count the country’s population once every decade.
“The main problem is financing,” Stepan Mnatsakanian, head of the National Statistical Service (NSS), told RFE/RL. “We anticipate that under the best-case scenario, there could be more certainty and first donor assistance on this issue at the end of December.”
In Mnatsakanian’s words, Armenia’s second census since independence will require as many as 16,000 workers and cost a total of 2.5 billion drams ($6.5 million). The government can provide only one fifth of the sum, he said, adding that it hopes to obtain the rest from the United Nations, the World Bank and other foreign sources.
The donors already provided 80 percent of $2 million that was spent on the first post-Soviet survey of Armenia’s population conducted in October 2001. According to its results, the country numbered approximately 3.2 million residents, a substantial decrease from the late Soviet era resulting from the mass out-migration of the early 1990s following the rapid privatization of Armenia’s economy.
Mnatsakanian said the next census will be important not only for updating the population numbers but also taking account of what he described as increased internal migration and social mobility. He argued that robust economic growth of the past decade fuelled a population flow from rural areas to Yerevan and other urban centers.