Meaning of Population Census
This refers to the official head-to-head counting of the people in a country at a given time. Nigeria has conducted series of censuses. These were in 1952/53, 1962/63, 1973, 1991. Census could not be conducted in 1983 because of certain reasons. The administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made move to conduct census in 2003, but this was delayed until 2006. The result of the census gave the population of Nigeria to be 140,003,542 persons.
Two Methods of Census
- De Jure Method: – In this type of census, persons who are regular residents in a particular place are counted irrespective of the place they are residing temporarily. In this case people are counted by proxy.
- De Facto Method: – This is a system of counting only those who are physically present in the census. This is an ideal population census.
Importance of Population Census
- Population census helps to know the size of a nation’s population as well as its spatial distribution which can be very useful in implementing socio-economic policies.
- It helps a nation to detect her present socio-economic needs and also make forecast against her future needs and the solution applicable.
- It helps in measuring and comparing the standard of living among various countries. This is possible through the use of per capita income.
- It helps the government in policy formulation
- It helps the government to determine the amount of revenue accruable to the national purpose within a given time.
- It aids allocation of resources by the government
Problems or Difficulties of Population Census in West Africa
- Conducting a census usually costs a huge amount of money: This is the reason why many developing countries only conduct censuses over a relatively long period of time.
- Inadequate skilled personnel: census figures are sometimes inaccurate because those who conduct them are not qualified to do so.
- Inadequate means of transportation: some remote places in a country are inaccessible because of poor transportation system thereby frustrating the effort of enumerators in reaching them.
- Illiteracy and Ignorance: Many people of West Africa usually run away from being counted because they tend to associate census with tax payment.
- Religious Belief: Some religious beliefs make it difficult to get accurate figures. For example, some religions do not allow women to appear in the public let alone to be counted.
- Political Interference: Censuses in West African countries are usually manipulated for political reasons. In other to get a fat share of national allocation people do their best to ensure that huge population figures are reported for their areas.
- Poor Town Planning: many towns in West Africa are poorly planned and many houses are so remote that they are difficult to locate. This can really confound most except some unrelenting enumerators. Inability to locate an address invariably means non-counting of the people residing there.
Meaning of Rural-Urban Migration
Rural-Urban Migration is the mass and continuous movement of people from the rural to the urban areas in search of better and social economic opportunities.
Reasons for Rural-Urban Migration
- Inadequate social infrastructure like education, medical care, adequate security, good roads, etc. in the rural areas.
- Practice of subsistence agriculture in the rural areas.
- Neglect of the rural areas in the allocation of government spending
- Concentration of economic and employment opportunities in the urban areas.
- Desire for adventure
Effects of Rural-Urban Migration
- Rural-urban migration exerts a lot of strain on facilities available in the urban areas.
- It necessitates increased government spending in the urban areas
- If too many people are migrating to the urban areas without commensurate expansion in the economic and job opportunities therein widespread unemployment can arise.
- The agriculture sector of the economy suffers as manpower drifts from the rural to the urban centres.
- There is increase in social problems such as immorality, prostitution, armed robbery, thuggery, etc as a result of high unemployment rate.
How to Control Rural-Urban Migration
- Agriculture needs to be urgently modernized. This will retain people on farms and present engaging challenges to them.
- Social infrastructure such as adequate water supply, electricity, good road,hospitals, schools etc should be provided in the rural areas.
- Agro-based industries should be established in the rural areas. This will serve the need of farmers and as well create more job opportunities for rural dwellers.
- Overhauling of education system such that people will be encourage to take up agriculture-related courses.
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