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Tonga Population and Housing Census 2006

Date created: 25 May 2022 Version 01

The Census is the official count of population and dwellings in Tonga, providing a ‘snapshot’ of the society and its most precious resource, its people, at a point in time. The official reference period of the census was midnight, the 30th of November, 2006.

The census provides a unique source of detailed demographic, social and economic data relating the entire population at a single point in time. Census information is used for policy setting and implementation, research, planning and other decision-making. The census is often the primary source of information used for the allocation of public funding, especially in areas such as health, education and social policy. The main users of this information are the government, local authorities, education facilities (such as schools and tertiary organizations), businesses, community organizations and the public in general.

The 2006 Census was taken under the authority of Section 8 of Statistical Act Chap. 53 of 1978 which empowers the Minister of Finance to make regulations necessary to conduct the population Census. This regulation was approved by the Cabinet and cited as Census Regulation 2006. The Census regulations also indicate that the Government Statistician would be responsible for the administration and completion of the Census. In addition, the regulations enabled the Statistics Department to carry out the necessary activities required to plan, manage and implement all the necessary Census activities.

Census planning and management

From a planning and management perspective, the Census had two main objectives. Firstly, it was to ensure that the process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and disseminating of demographic, economic and social data was conducted in a timely and accurate manner. The development of procedures and processes for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing made use of the lessons learned in previous censuses, and built upon recommendations for improvements.

Secondly, it was a valuable opportunity for building the capacities of employees of the Statistics Department (SD), thus resulting in enhancing the image, credibility and reputation of the Department and at the same time, strengthening its infrastructure. Emphasis was placed on having a senior staff with a wide perspective and leadership qualities. Through the use of vision, planning, coordination, delegation of responsibility and a strong team spirit, the census work was conducted in an effective and efficient manner. Staffs at all levels were encouraged to have an innovative mindset in addressing issues. Incentives for other parties to participate, both within Statistics Department Tonga Tonga 2006 Census of Population and Housing viii and outside the government, were encouraged. As a result, the wider community including donors such as AusAID, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, that provided the technical assistance and the general public, were able to support the census project.

Extensive and detailed planning is needed to conduct a successful census. Areas that required planning include: enumeration procedures and fieldwork, public communication, data processing and output systems, mapping and the design of census block boundaries, dissemination procedures, content determination and questionnaire development and training. These aspects, and how they interacted with each other, played a crucial role in determining the quality of all of the census outputs. Each phase therefore required careful, methodical planning and testing. The details of such activities, and their implementation and responsibilities were assigned to 5 subcommittees composed of staff members of the SD.

Organizational structure of the Census

A census organizational structure is designed to implement a number of interrelated activities. Each of these activities was assigned to a specific sub-committee. The census manuals provided guidelines on processes, organizational structures, controls for quality assurance and problem solving. The challenge for managers was developing a work environment that enabled census personnel to perform all these tasks with a common goal in mind. Each sub-committee was responsible for its own outputs, and specific decisions for specific situations were delegated to the lowest level possible. Problem situations beyond the scope of the sub-committee were escalated to the next higher level.

The organizational structure of the census was as follows: a) The Steering Committee (consisting of the Head of both Government and nongovernment organizations), chaired by Secretary for Finance with the Government Statistician (GS) as secretary. b) The Census Committee (consisted of all sub-committee leaders plus the GS, and chaired by the Assistant Government Statistician (AGS) who was the officer in charge of all management and planning of the Census 2006 operations. c) There were five Sub-committees (each sub-committee consisted of about 5 members and were chaired by their Sub-committee leader). These committees included: Mapping, Publicity, Fieldwork, Training and Data Processing. In this way, every staff member of the SD was involved with the census operation through their participation on these committees.

The census steering committee was a high level committee that approved and endorsed the plans and activities of the census. Policy issues that needed to be addressed were submitted to the steering committee for approval prior to the census team and sub-committees designation of the activities necessary to address the tasks.

Part of the initial planning of the 2006 Census involved the establishment of a work-plan with specific time frames. This charted all activities that were to be undertaken and, their impact and dependencies on other activities. These time frames were an essential part of the overall exercise, as they provided specific guides to the progress of each area, and alerted subcommittees’ team leaders (TL) to areas where problems existed and needed to be addressed. These also provided the SD staff with a clear indication of where and how their roles impacted the overall Census process.

Monitoring of the timeframe was an essential part of the management of the Census program. Initially, weekly meetings were held which involved the GS, AGS and team leaders (TL) of the Census committee. As the Census projects progressed, the AGS and TL’s met regularly with their sub-committees to report on the progress of each area. Decisions were made on necessary actions in order to meet the designated dates. Potential risks that could negatively affect the deadlines and actions were also considered at these meetings.

For the 5 sub-committees, one of their first tasks was to verify and amend their terms of reference using the “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” (SWOT) analysis methodology, as it applied to past censuses. Each committee then prepared a work-plan and listed all activities for which that particular sub-committee was responsible. This listing included the assignment of a responsible person, together with the timeline indicating the start and end dates required to complete that particular activity. These work-plans, set up by all the 5 sub-committees, were then used by the AGS to develop a detailed operational plan for all phases of the census, the activities required to complete these phases, start and end dates, the person responsible and the dependencies, - all in a Ghant chart format. These combined work-plans were further discussed and amended in the Census team and reported to the Steering committee on regular basis as required.

Version 01 - Edited, cleaned, de-identified and labelled version of the Master file.

The scope of the National Population Census includes personal information on individual characteristics, health, education, literacy, labor market and reproduction.

The scope of the Household module includes information on dwelling style, energy, goods present in the HH, technology, waste, tenure, income, remittances and mortality.

  • Collection start: 2006
  • Collection end: 2006
View source

Data and Resources

  • SPC_TON_2006_PHC_v01_M
Issued 2019-04-09
Modified 2019-05-20
Version 01
DCAT Type Text
Publisher Name
  • Tonga Statistics Department
Contact Point
Contact Name
  • Government Statistician

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