8 votes

With a budget cut of 95%, the already-delayed 2021 Census in Brazil is being canceled entirely

9 comments

  1. [2]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    This sucks, particularly for me as someone who was really excited to see a census as a kid. This reminds me of when @mrbig said the Brazilian govt will do what they want to the data to get it to...

    This sucks, particularly for me as someone who was really excited to see a census as a kid. This reminds me of when @mrbig said the Brazilian govt will do what they want to the data to get it to say what the govt wants to hear and I wasn't really truly convinced. Given the budget cut of 95% of the supposed money, it's pretty fair to say this was their plan.

    The Demographic Census of the population of Brazil was scheduled for the year 2020, but due to the pandemic of COVID-19 the survey was postponed to this year, however, the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) suffered a great deal budget cut, which resulted in the survey being canceled. Congress decided to allocate only R $ 71 million for research, less than 5% of the agreed cost, which was around 2 billion reais.

    In an interview with Dire agency, the former president of IBGE Roberto Olinto Ramos spoke about the importance of the Demographic Census and about whether or not the survey was carried out this year. According to Ramos, the budget cut is unjustifiable and that the census is of fundamental importance for the planning of the country’s policies at all levels, national, state and municipal. “The operation of the Census for any country is extremely fundamental for any subsequent data generation.

    However, there is one counter-argument:

    However, Roberto Olinto points out that it is necessary to assess whether this year is the ideal time for the Census. According to the researcher and former president of IBGE, the argument used last year for not carrying out the research remains this year, as the pandemic is at its worst in the country. In addition, Ramos points out that the pandemic temporarily changed the demographic distribution in the country, in addition to income and family organization, and if the census was carried out it could bring data without the necessary precision.

    Personally, I do think this is a reasonable enough take to argue about it, but I feel the US's censuses conduction is a decent counter counter-argument, albeit admittedly not a particularly strong one given Brazil is a far cry from the US.

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Reading my predictions now I was clearly on a speculative mood. Things make sense but are way over the top. Like something that is reasonable and would probably make a good novel but is unlikely...

      Reading my predictions now I was clearly on a speculative mood. Things make sense but are way over the top. Like something that is reasonable and would probably make a good novel but is unlikely to actually happen :P

      2 votes
  2. [7]
    mrbig
    Link
    The Census is a huge effort that requires millions of physical visits to households. I cannot in good conscience support its execution right now. Let's hope it happens as soon as the pandemic is over.

    The Census is a huge effort that requires millions of physical visits to households. I cannot in good conscience support its execution right now. Let's hope it happens as soon as the pandemic is over.

    3 votes
    1. [6]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Concerning health risks, conducting a census can be done safely very easily, but it's still kind of silly to try and collect data during a pandemic because there is so much change going on. The US...

      Concerning health risks, conducting a census can be done safely very easily, but it's still kind of silly to try and collect data during a pandemic because there is so much change going on.

      The US Census in 2020 for instance, was conducted in a much shorter span of time than normal. That, combined with the general effects of the pandemic, and Trump fucking with the integrity of the Census by trying to push a citizenship question onto the form (with representation consequences for non-citizens), has convinced me that there ought to be another Census some time around 2025. I'm not very confident in the 2020 data.

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        I don't know. A single researcher can visit, I don't know, 100 houses a week? If said researcher got COVID, won't he become a powerful spread vector even with precautions? Multiply that by...

        I don't know. A single researcher can visit, I don't know, 100 houses a week? If said researcher got COVID, won't he become a powerful spread vector even with precautions? Multiply that by thousands of researchers and millions of visits. Don't you think that could have a sizeable negative effect?

        This does not even take into account that many researchers might not follow all the precautions.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          If is the operative word here though. I worked as an enumerator for the 2020 US Census and the job was very safe. I entered someone's home maybe three times, the rest of the time I was talking...

          If said researcher got COVID

          If is the operative word here though. I worked as an enumerator for the 2020 US Census and the job was very safe. I entered someone's home maybe three times, the rest of the time I was talking with people outside, social distancing, etc. This includes interviewing large crowds.

          To be clear, it's not a good idea to conduct a census right now, I was just making the point that interviewing people can easily be done safely.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I worked for IBGE (the Brazilian government agency that makes the census). I did not work on the census, but in other permanent research that was similar for the relevant purposes. I know a bit...

            I worked for IBGE (the Brazilian government agency that makes the census). I did not work on the census, but in other permanent research that was similar for the relevant purposes. I know a bit about how the census works in Brazil.

            Our census is actually a questionaire that can take a few minutes to answer*. The PDA we use(d) is super slow and buggy which makes the process even slower.

            Most of the time you have to enter the house. It's hot outside (in my city, temperatures ranging from 30°C to 35°C are common...) and dangerous depending on location. I witnessed a few shootouts, just to give you an idea.

            People engage in conversation (we're Brazilians, so we're warm and inviting...), and I was offered lunch quite a few times.

            Yeah, I think it would be tremendously bad to have a census now.

            * I just checked and the current questionnaire contains 76 questions...

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              hungariantoast
              Link Parent
              Yeah, I worked in and around Houston so understand that it's hot and humid and terrible. We were issued iPhones with a special app to conduct interviews with. Your PDAs are probably faster than...

              Yeah, I worked in and around Houston so understand that it's hot and humid and terrible. We were issued iPhones with a special app to conduct interviews with. Your PDAs are probably faster than our app and half as sweaty as our phones 😂

              Our standard line was to say that "the interview should take about ten minutes". It actually would have taken about twice that for a family of three. One of my coworkers was assigned to enumerate a family of twelve and the old lady of the house, who was described as "at least one hundred years old" patiently answered over an hour of interview questions and then wanted to tell my coworker about her other relatives to save them the time (that's not how it works).

              I don't know man, I feel like conducting a national census isn't the most difficult thing to do safely, we did it under Trump, but if you really don't think Brazil is up to it then I'll defer to your expertise.

              3 votes
              1. mrbig
                Link Parent
                I concede that, with another leadership, political, and social climate, conducting the Census right now might not increase our calamitous state by a large margin. But now we're talking alternate...

                I concede that, with another leadership, political, and social climate, conducting the Census right now might not increase our calamitous state by a large margin. But now we're talking alternate universes :P

                2 votes