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Discuss the disadvantages of using a census to gather population data

Many countries all over the world use censuses to gather information about their population. Questions asked in a census include age, gender, nationality, employment and living situation. A census is usually carried out every 10 years - in the UK, the next census will take place in 2021. There are, however, many disadvantages to using a census as the main method of gathering population data.

Firstly, filling out the census requires reading and writing skills - in countries where there are low literacy rates, this means that a signification portion of the population will not be able to fill out the forms. There could be language barriers, particularly in countries where there is more than one official (or unofficial) language, and it would be very expensive to produce alternative versions in many different languages. Furthermore, there are issues in reaching remote areas of certain countries, such as the mountainous regions of Pakistan or the rainforests of Brazil, so reaching these areas would be time-consuming and costly. Lastly, homeless or nomadic people are not counted in the census, as they do not have fixed addresses, and this means that the census is not as accurate as it should be in terms of gathering population numbers.

As shown above, censuses can be costly to produce, difficult to distribute and inaccurate in gathering population data.

Answered by Aaron M. Geography tutor

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