Provincial DATA SYSTEM (PDS) 

Use of Provincial Data System in the 2020 Census.

What is a Provincial Data System (PDS)?

PDS stands for Provincial Data System. The PDS is primarily a system for collecting, storing and using social and economic data about the population at the provincial level.

The system was originally developed in the 1970s during the colonial days when the kiaps were doing their one walking patrols to establish administration points. These points or centers were usually established based on data collected from a Village Book Register (VBR).

Such data included the population (Census Book), tribal and or clan groupings, culture and languages. The administration points or centers were then usually established in a central location using such useful data collected from the VBR. This system was continually used by NSO in the early 1980s until it died a natural death with the exit of the expatriate personal involved with the system.

After the Organic Law was passed in 1990, this system re-surfaced in 1993 and this time it operated under the Village Services Scheme. For some years, the National Statistical Office (NSO) and the Department of Provincial and Local-Level Government Affairs (DPLGA) were jointly involved in running this scheme throughout the country. However, with the introduction of the Local Level Government (LLG) and Ward system, the scheme also lapsed.

The NSO with the support of the Organic Law analyzed all the systems including data collection methods devised and established the PDS in 1998. The system was the combination of previous systems to collect data at the ward level in preparation for the 2000 National Population and Housing Census.  Although not considered in 2011 National Population and Housing Census, the PDS  will be utilized in the 2020 Census.

Objectives of the PDS and relevance to census

The objectives of the PDS for the 2020 census are;


1) To provide a full coverage check for census (census frame),

2) To share the responsibility of data collection between the NSO and provinces and

3) To maintain continuity at the provincial level (sustainability after census).

Apart from these key objectives, the PDS also aims to provide statistical area maps and listings of census units (CUs), provide demographic and socio-economic data and to provide data on the distribution of ad access to basic services.

In preparation for the 2020 National Population and Housing Census, the NSO will be utilizing PDS this time engaging villagers to collect data. Data collected at village level by the villagers will then be aggregated at the NSO generating the PDS. Provinces are the owners of these information after it is analyzed and as always, the NSO remained custodians of all data.

The reviewing of the PDS is based on the experience of the 2000 Census in comparison with the 2011 Census. This concept was revived purposely to pave way for the 2020 census and enhance coverage in the rural areas.

Components and instruments of the PDS

There are four major components of the PDS;


1) Census Unit Register and Statistical Map Updates,

2) Census Unit (CU) Listing Operation,

3) Social and Economic Survey and

4) Household Record Card.


Instruments that will be used to collect data under each of the components respectively are;


1) Census Unit Register Update Form and Statistical Area Map,

2) Household Listing Form, CU Sketch Form and CU Summary Form,

3) Social and Economic Condition Survey (SECS) Form and

4) Household Record Card which will be used to collect information during CU listing operation.

PDS instruments and functions

Census Unit Register Update Form

The Census Unit Register Update Form is a form used update the Census Unit Register. The Census Unit Register is a list of all CUs in the country. It includes those CUs that currently exist and those that exist in the recent past. The CU Register update form is used to update the list of CUs for a particular ward under a LLG, District and Province. The form is also used to record the type of change a CU may undergo as well as record the method of enumeration expected in each CU.

Statistical Area Map

In parallel with the CU Register are the maps showing geographical locations of each census unit. The statistical are map will show locations of all CUs listed in the CU Register. The map will show both administrative and statistical boundaries important for statistical data collections for both urban and rural areas.

Household Listing Form

The Household Listing Form is used to capture listing information. Listing is a systematic way of compiling a list of all the households and other major features within a census unit. Listing is undertaken to;


1) enable interviewers during census to locate and conduct interviews at each household;

2) serve as checklist for completeness and coverage,

3) assist formulation of workloads for each census interviewer and

4) assist census planners formulate cost estimates for the main census enumeration.

Census Unit Sketch Form

A census unit sketch mapping is done simultaneously with the CU listings, but for CUs without proper cartographic maps. The sketch form is sued to draw the locations all the households within the CU. The map also shows locations of churches, schools, aid posts, stores etc., in each CU.

Census Unit Summary Form

The Census Unit (CU) Summary Form is used to provide immediate indication of different features that are listed and existed within the CU. It shows the total number of usual residents by sex, and dwellings by house types (private or non-private).

Social and Economic Conditions Survey (SECS) Form

The SECS form is used to record socio-economic conditions of a census unit at the community level. The information includes accessibility of services, frequency of use, time taken and mode of transport. Other data collected are business activities and availability of other services such as postal and banking services, education, health, infrastructure, communication, community services, agriculture and other business activities.

Household Record Card

The Household Record Card (HRC) is to collect basic demographic information at the household level. There are three parts to the HRC;


1) Indicative Information,

2) Household record and

3) Instructions.


The household record consists of person number, name, sex relationship, date of birth and age of each person.

Basic outputs of PDS

The outputs of PDS are in two folds; preliminary and secondary outputs. Preliminary outputs include updated CU register, CU summary of profile, list of household heads per CU, sketch maps of all CUs and household record cards. The secondary outputs include; population distribution by age and sex, relationship to head of household, population by ward, LLG, district and province, and distribution of basic services by ward, LLG, district and province.

PDS vs Census

PDS and national Censuses have a high degree of compatibility, however they operate on different ground rules. PDS was established with no intention to replace or compete with National Censuses. It is also expected that National Censuses would be used to upgrade and expand upon some areas of PDS data where relevant. Census are held at long intervals while the PDS is intended to operate with Censuses. PDS is implemented prior to a Census. PDS data is used to set the control checklist for census coverage.