Bangladesh has a long tradition of population censuses. After the country gained Independence, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) was established in 1974, bringing together the former Provincial Bureau of Statistics, the Central Statistical Office. the Population Census Organization of Home Ministry, the Agriculture Census Commission and the Agriculture Bureau of Statistics of the Agriculture Ministry. The first census of independent Bangladesh was held in 1974. Subsequent censuses were conducted in 1981, 1991 and 2001.
Following the decennial tradition of conducting the Population Census, the fifth decennial census was conducted from the 15th to 19th of March, 2011, which corresponds with the 1th to the 5th of Chaitro, 1417 on the Bengali calendar. The main objectives of the census were to enumerate all the households and the people in the country at one point of time. As recommended by the National Statistical Council (NSC) the entire census work has three phases. In Phase I, basic information of all households and individual persons was collected using a short questionnaire designed for data capture through Intelligent Character Recognition (lCR). ln Phase 2, a Post Enumeration Check (PEC) survey was conducted for evaluation of the quality and extent of coverage of the main census. Finally, in Phase 3, a Sample Census will be conducted to collect detailed information on housing, households, Population and their socio-demographic characteristics. The field work relating to Phase 1 and 2 has been completed; the field work relating to Phase 3 is expected to be completed by October, 2011. A Standing Technical Committee, comprised of well known experts in various disciplines, was formed to provide advice to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics on various matters relating to the Census. Two data users conferences were organized by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, where various census data users and subject matter experts participated and exchanged their views regarding data requirements, coverage and presentation. The census questionnaire was finalized after due consideration of the recommendations of the Standing Technical Committee, results from pre-tests and the consensus developed in the conferences.
The census questionnaire was designed for data capture through ICR equipment and had two modules: 1) a housing and household module with 11 questions and 2) an individual module with l4 questions. A modified de-facto method was adopted for enumeration. The floating population was counted on Census night from midnight (zero hour) to 6:00 a.m. on March 14th,2011. individuals engaged in night duty or in transit were counted in their respective households. Consequently, the census provides a count of the number of households and individuals that were present in Bangladesh on census night.