MINELRES: Moldovan Census: Romanian Self-Identification Often Discouraged

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Oct 17 18:21:02 2004

Original sender: Ionas Aurelian Rus <rus@polisci.rutgers.edu>


European Council experts presented the preliminary report on
populationís census in the Republic of Moldova

Head of EC group of experts that monitored the unfolding of the
population's census in the Republic of Moldova considers that some of
the questionnaire's columns were "vulnerable".

According to John Kelly, the columns referring to the nationality and
spoken language created confusion among the respondents. Although the
reports done on the spot show that a significant part of the respondents
answered this questions spontaneously, observers pointed out cases when
those questioned were discouraged by the census takers to declare
themselves Romanians. "In addition, it seems that there are confusions
regarding these terms even between the members of the same family,"
mentioned Kelly.

The experts declared that they will continue watching closely the
processing of the data regarding the nationality of the citizens.

Concrete and complete data about the persons who went abroad and data
referring to the economic activity of the questioned person were
difficult to obtain, also stated Kelly. According to the expert, another
lacuna for a good unfolding of the census is also the inappropriate
informing of the population that did not know about this action,
especially the people that live in rural localities.

International observers' team made up 36 persons unfolded its activity
during population's counting in all the districts of the country,
watching the census taking in almost 1500 households. Kelly stated that
in the next 4 days, the observers will go on the spot to check the
correctness of the collected data. And before the final results of the
census will be published, EC experts will check the processing of the

Director of the Department of Statistics and Sociology, Vitalie Valcov
announced previously that the final results could be made public in a

It should be mentioned that Transdniestrian authorities take the
populationís census starting 11 October currently. Vitalie Valcov stated
that the left bank of the Dniester doesn't comply with the international
recommendations of unfolding the census and thus, the data collected in
this region where almost 17% of Moldovaís population live will not be
taken into consideration by the international bodies. The last census
was performed in the Republic of Moldova in 1989. 

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Chisinau. The international mission, delegated to Moldova by the Council
of Europe to observe the October 5-12 Population and Household Census,
believes the census was organized and carried out successfully, and its
findings will be extremely important for this republic.

The head of the mission Mr. John Kelly told a news conference in Infotag
today the CE experts had controlled the work of enumerators at
approximately 1.5 thousand households in all raions of Moldova.

Residents took an active part in the Census, although in the initial one
or two days of it not everyone was aware that the Census was taking
place. However, this situation improved considerably by the third day of
the Census, he said.

Preliminary indications are that the Census was conducted successfully
and that good and useful results can be expected. However, Mr. Kelly
pointed out one difficulty that the enumerators frequently encountered
in urban areas - that household members were absent the first time the
personnel came around, and this necessitated repeat visits. In rural
areas, the enumeration coincided with the time of the harvest, and this
too made it quite difficult for enumerators to contact household

The items in the questionnaires concerning nationality and language
proved to be sensitive. Although reports from the field show that a
large proportion of respondents spontaneously provided answers to these
questions, several observers in different parts of the country reported
cases where enumerators appeared to discourage respondents to declare
themselves to be Romanian instead of Moldovan.

"In addition, even within the same family there often seemed to be some
confusion about these terms. In view of this, we have concluded that
greater care will be required to assess the data on nationality and
therefore we will need to look further into this", John Kelly said.

The Expert Group plans to produce a final report on the field
enumeration within the next several weeks. And since the field
enumeration is now finished, the Expert Group will now turn its
attention to the next stages of the monitoring mission - control checks
of the fieldwork and preparation of the preliminary data.