Sample J26 from Frank Lorimer, Demographic Information on Tropical Africa. Boston: Boston University Press, 1961. Pp. 130-136. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus1,997 words 10 symbols 2 formulasJ26

Used by permission. 0010-1980

Frank Lorimer, Demographic Information on Tropical Africa. Boston: Boston University Press, 1961. Pp. 130-136.

Note: Bibliographical references omitted, replaced by **B.

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A royal decree issued in 1910 , two years after the Belgian government assumed authority for the administration of the Congo , prescribed the registration of all adult males by chiefdoms . Further decrees along this line were issued in 1916 and 1919 . In 1922 a continuous registration of the whole indigenous population was instituted by ordinance of the Governor-General , and the periodic compilation of these records was ordered . But specific procedures for carrying out this plan were left to the discretion of the provincial governors . A unified set of regulations , applicable to all areas , was issued in 1929 , and a complementary series of demographic inquiries in selected areas was instituted at the same time . The whole system was again reviewed and reorganized in 1933 . General responsibility for its administration rested with a division of the colonial government concerned with labor supply and native affairs , Service des Affaires Indigenes et de la Main-d'Oeuvre ( AIMO , Af Direction , Af Direction Generale , Gouvernement Generale ) . Tribal authorities , the chiefs and their secretaries , were held responsible for maintaining the registers of indigenous persons within their territories , under the general supervision of district officials . The district officials , along with their other duties , were obliged to organize special demographic inquiries in selected areas and to supervise the annual tabulations of demographic statistics .

The regulations require the inscription of each individual ( male or female , adult or child ) on a separate card ( fiche ) . The cards , filed by circonscription ( sub-chiefdom , or village ) , are kept in the headquarters of each territoire ( chiefdom ) . Each card is expected to show certain information about the individual concerned , including his or her date of birth ( or age at a specified time ) , spouses , and children . Additional entries must be made from time to time . Different cards are used for males and females , and a corner is clipped from the cards of adults , and of children when they reach puberty . So a quick count could be made at any time , even by an illiterate clerk , of the number of registered persons in four age-and-sex classes . Personal identification cards are issued to all adult males on which tax payments , inoculations , periods of employment , and changes of residence are recorded . Similar identification cards were issued in 1959 to all adult females . Each adult is held personally responsible for assuring his inscription and obtaining an identification card which must be shown on demand . The registration card of a person leaving his home territory for a short period is put into a special file for absent persons . The cards of permanent out-migrants are , in theory , sent to an office in the place of new residence . Finally , the registration of births and deaths by nearest relatives was made compulsory in most regions .

Numbers of registered persons in four age-and-sex classes were counted each year . In addition , demographic inquiries , supposedly involving field investigations , were conducted in selected minor divisions ( circonscriptions ) containing about 3 percent of the total population . The results of these inquiries were used to adjust compilations of data from the registers and to provide various ratios and rates by districts , including birth and death rates , general fertility rates , distributions by marital status , fertility of wives separately in polygynous and non-polygynous households , infant mortality , and migration . The areas to be examined in these inquiries were selected by local officials , supposedly as representative of a larger population . Averages of the ratios obtained in a few selected areas were applied to the larger population .

The scheme , in theory , is an ingenious adaptation of European registration systems to the conditions of African life . But it places a severe strain on the administrative resources ( already burdened in other ways ) of a widely dispersed , poor and largely illiterate population . The sampling program was instituted before the principles of probability sampling were widely recognized in population studies . The system was not well adapted to conditions of life in urban centers . The distinction between domiciled ( de jure ) and present ( de facto ) population was not clearly defined . So the results are subject to considerable confusion . The system tended to break down during the war , but was reactivated ; ; it had reached the pre-war level of efficiency by 1951 . In spite of the defects in this system , the figures on total population during the late 1930's and again in the early 1950's seem to have represented actual conditions in most districts with approximate fidelity . But the information on the dynamics of population was often quite misleading .

The same system , with minor modifications , was developed in Ruanda-Urundi under Belgian administration . Here again it seems that useful approximations of the size and geographical distribution of the population were obtained in this way in the late pre-war and early post-war periods .

Before considering more recent activities , we should note another important aspect of demography in Belgian Africa . A number of strong independent agencies , established in some cases with governmental or royal support , have conducted large medical , social , educational and research operations in particular parts of the Congo and Ruanda-Urundi . The work of Fonds Reine Elisabeth pour l'Assistance Medicale aux Indigenes Du Congo Belge ( FOREAMI ) has special interest with respect to demography . This agency accepted responsibility for medical services to a population ranging from 638,560 persons in 1941 to 840,503 in 1956 in the Kwango District and adjacent areas east of Leopoldville . Each year from 1941 on , its medical staff had conducted intensive field investigations to determine changes in population structure and vital rates and , as its primary objective , the incidence of major diseases . Its findings are reported each year in its Rapport Sur l'activite Pendant annee ( Bruxelles ) . Somewhat similar investigations have been made by medical officers in other areas . Other independent , or partially independent agencies , have promoted investigations on topics directly or indirectly related to demography . These studies vary widely in scope and precision . L'Institut pour La Recherche Scientifique En Afrique Centrale ( IRSAC ) has sponsored well-designed field investigations and has cooperated closely with the government of Ruanda-Urundi in the development of its official statistics .

A massive investigation of the characteristics of in-migrants and prospective out-migrants in Ruanda-Urundi is being carried on by J. J. Maquet , former Director of the Social Science branch of IRSAC , now a professor at l'Universite Officielle Du Congo Belge et Du Ruanda-Urundi . Some 30,000 completed schedules with 20 items ( collected by sub-chiefs in 1,100 circumscriptions ) have been tabulated . The results are now being analyzed .

Statistics have been recognized as a matter of strategic importance in the Congo and in Ruanda-Urundi during the post-war years in connection with long-term economic and social programs . The AIMO organizations of both countries , which maintain administrative services throughout the territories , retained immediate responsibility for the collection and publication of demographic information . However , the statistical offices of both governments were assigned responsibility for the planning and analysis of these statistics . A Bureau De La Demographie ( A. Romaniuk , Director ) was formed under AIMO in the Congo , to work in close rapport with the Section Statistique of the Secretariat General . Eventually responsibility for demographic inquiries in the Congo was transferred to the demographic division of the Central Statistical Office . The 1952 demographic inquiry in Ruanda-Urundi was directed by V. Neesen , a member of the IRSAC staff , though the inquiry was carried out under the auspices of AIMO , which has continuing responsibility for demographic statistics in this territory . A member of the IRSAC staff ( E. Van De Walle ) was recently delegated to cooperate with AIMO in the development of demographic statistics in this territory .

The initiation of sampling censuses in Ruanda-Urundi ( 1952 ) and in the Congo ( 1955 - 57 ) were major advances . We will deal first with the program in the Congo though this was put into operation later than the other .

The radical nature of the innovation in the Congo was not emphasized in the official announcements . The term enquetes demographiques , previously used for the supplementary investigations carried out in connection with the administrative censuses , was used for the new investigations . However , the differences in procedure are fundamental . These are as follows : ( 1 ) field work procedures .

Field operations were transferred from administrative personnel primarily engaged in other tasks to specially trained teams of full-time African investigators ( three teams , each working in two provinces ) . These teams carried out the same operations successively in different areas . ( 2 ) nature of the sample .

Sample areas in the new investigations were selected strictly by application of the principles of probability theory , so as to be representative of the total population of defined areas within calculable limits . In short , scientific sampling was introduced in place of subjective sampling . The populations of the various districts , or other major divisions , were stratified by type of community ( rural , urban , mixed ) and , where appropriate , by ethnic affiliation and by type of economy . Sample units ( villages in rural areas , houses in cities ) were drawn systematically within these strata . ( 3 ) size of the sample .

Different sampling ratios were applied under different conditions . Higher proportions were sampled in urban and mixed communities than in rural areas . About 11 percent of the total population was covered in the new investigation , as compared with about 3 percent in the previous inquiries . ( 4 ) questions and definitions .

Uniform questions , definitions , and procedures were enforced throughout the whole country . Data were obtained , separately , on three classes of persons : ( A ) residents , present ; ; ( B ) residents , absent ; ; and ( C ) visitors . In the reports , summary results are given for both the de facto ( A and C ) and de jure ( A and B ) populations ; ; but the subsequent analysis of characteristics is reported only for the de jure population ( or , in some districts , only the de facto population ) .

These changes represent , in effect , a shift from ( 1 ) an administrative compilation of data obtained through procedures designed primarily to serve political and economic objectives to ( 2 ) a systematic sampling census of the whole African population .

The population registration system still has important functions . It supplies local data which are useful in administration and which can be used as a basis for intensive studies in particular situations . It provides a frame for the sampling census . It also provides a frame within which the registration of vital events is gradually gaining force ( though one cannot expect to obtain reliable vital statistics in most parts of the Congo from this source in the near future ) . It is still used in making current population estimates in post-census years , though the value of these estimates is open to question . Finally , it may have certain very important , less obvious values . Even though the registers may have an incomplete record of persons present in a particular area or include persons no longer living there , they contain precise information on ages , by date of birth , for some of the persons present ( especially children in relatively stable communities ) and supplementary information ( such as records of marital status ) for many others . The quality of the census data can , therefore , be greatly improved by the use of the registration records in conjunction with the field inquiries . Furthermore , it may be possible to estimate the error due to bias in method ( as distinguished from sampling error ) in each of these sources , on such subjects as fertility , mortality , and migration during a given interval by using information from two largely independent sources in conjunction .

The first sampling census in the Congo extended over a three-year period , 1955 - 57 ; ; the results were still being processed in 1959 . It is planned to double the number of teams and to make use of improved equipment in a second demographic inquiry in 1960 , so that the inquiry can be carried through in one year and the results published more expeditiously . It is proposed that in the future complete sampling censuses be carried out at five-year intervals .

Reports already issued on the sampling census , 1955 - 57 , in various areas run as follows ( using only the French and omitting corresponding Flemish titles ) .

This report contains preliminary notes and 35 tables .

Other reports in identical form , but with somewhat varying content , have been issued .

These area reports will be followed , according to present plans , by a summary report , which will include a detailed statement on methods .