The Moroccan government has sent out more than 70,000 census takers to conduct Morocco's sixth national census. Hopefully, the census will provide data to guide future development and public policy programmes
The census is conducted every ten years.
Hassan Benmehdi, writing for Magharebia.com, reports that the three-week General Population and Housing Census (RGPH) operation kicked off on Monday (September 1st).
"Right from the very first day, we've seen that the public is fully prepared to answer the census takers' questions," said Hasna Tadli, the census manager in Casablanca.
According to High Commissioner for Planning Ahmed Lahlimi, citizens showed "a real willingness to help and a high level of civic responsibility".
"Members of the public have a moral and legal duty to answer the questions in the census, which has the sole purpose of taking a snapshot of the social realities of the country, so that political decision-makers will be able to draw up development plans for the coming decade," Lahlimi told Magharebia.
Citizens have welcomed the project, especially questions introduced into the 2014 census on the quality of housing and access to basic facilities.
"This operation is needed to find practical solutions to problems such as housing, youth unemployment, schools and public services," Casablanca architect Labib Belaâyoune said.
For the first time in the history of the census, the 2014 edition is using satellite imagery and special websites, according to Mohamed El Qarfaoui of the High Commission for Planning (HCP).
The population segments covered by the census are ordinary households, nomadic households, people living alone, the homeless and those in temporary housing.
The figures on the population living legally in Morocco will be published towards the end of 2014. The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population are expected to be announced next year. The overall budget for the RGPH is 900 million dirhams.
On a lighter note, hopefully the census will settle local disputes such as "how many people actually live in the Fez Medina?"