Saturday, April 4, 2020

Rosstat Asks Moscow to Postpone Census to 2021 Because of Pandemic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 2 – On March 30, the Russian State Statistical Committee Rosstat announced that it was postponing the planned beginning of the 2020 census in distant and sparsely populated area. Today it said that it had asked the government to consider postponing the entire census scheduled for this fall.

            Pavel Malkov, head of Rosstat, says that the upcoming census “must be conducted at a new technological level” but that “in the current situation, there have arisen a number of questions connected with the preparation, infrastructure and equipment for collection and processing of data” (

            “We have ever less time to train census takers and arranging the technology so as to guarantee among other things the security of the information collected,” Malkov says.  He suggested that the government should agree to delay the enumeration and that, if it does, the government, not Rosstat will set the new dates.

            His agency did unilaterally postpone the census that was supposed to begin in April to sometime in the second half of 2020. But now it may be even later. That effort was intended to enumerate residents of the Yamalo-Nenets and Chukchi autonomous districts, Magadan Oblast and Khabarovsk Kray where “about 500,000” people live (

            While Moscow has talked about expanded use of the Internet and mail in this running of the census, it still employs hundreds of thousands of people to collect data. Delaying the count so that they are not exposed to or transmit the coronavirus makes good sense, especially because some Russians were likely not to cooperate fearing exposure to the pandemic.

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