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Census history

The census was probably carried out in our territory already in the Middle Ages. Therefore, it can be rightly considered to be the oldest type of statistics. Gradually, as the society developed, the objective, purpose, scope and methods of data collection and processing of results changed. However, censuses have remained an irreplaceable source of the population data and its development over a period of time in a territory.

  • The registers (mostly of population) in Hungary began in 1784 and were repeated in a two-year period.
  • The 1857 census was held for the first time on a single date - 31 October 1857 - the census realization was entrusted only to political authorities. This census is considered to be a starting point of the transition from feudal registers to modern censuses. 
  • The first modern census was in 1869 and started a new period of population censuses in our territory. The Census Act of 29 March 1869 laid down that the census would be always carried out on 31 December in ten-year intervals in years ending with zero (with the exception of 1869); in 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910. Since 1869, the census was conducted according to the rules laid down by the International Statistical Congresses. 
  • The first Czechoslovak Population and Housing Census was carried out on 15 February 1921. The legal basis was the first Czechoslovak Census Act No 256/222 Coll. dated 8 April 1920. This census and the next 1930 census were basically a continuation of the Austrian censuses, although there were used some new methods.
  • The 1940 census was carried out only in the territory of the Slovak Republic from 1939 to 1945. The census was preceded by an extraordinary regional census in 1938. The official intention was to find out a "national cadastre" in Slovakia. The political issues of the 1940 census was already reflected in the law, which particularly excluded Jews and Gypsies (Roma). Jews could claim only Jewish nationality and Roma only Gypsy. The first summary and final data from the 1940 census were published only in 1946 and 1947, namely district data on nationality, religion and economic activity of the population and summary nationwide data on the age structure of the population in Slovakia.
  • The request for statistical data due to large post-war changes in the number and structure of the population was a reason to carry out brief population registers before the planned general census in 1950. In Slovakia, only the population register was conducted, as of 4 October 1946. In Bohemia (as of 31 May 1946), firstly the register of houses and dwellings was carried out and then subsequently (as of 22 May 1947) the population register. In Slovakia, the register mainly included data on the labour force and made more accurate the information related to the supply of the population, in Bohemia, data were used for national insurance purposes.
  • The census (conducted on 1 March 1950) was also the census of housing and dwellings in the territory. At the same time, a register of industrial and commercial enterprises and agricultural enterprises were carried out.
  • The 1961 census (carried out on 1 March) can be considered to be a new phase of the Czechoslovak population censuses. It was known as the first integrated census of population, households, houses and dwellings in history. This mutual links brought a completely new data quality and greatly extended the possibilities for its use. Although some new aspects and approaches (especially in the field of data processing) emerged in subsequent censuses (on 1 December 1970 and 1 November 1980), the 1961 census remained a starting point for new understanding of the census importance.
  • Since 1970, the census has also been linked together with 2% household sample surveys (micro-censuses) focused on monitoring differences in the incomes of different population groups and on other fields relating to the living standard of households. Data from 1970 and 1980 census were extensively published. Some of them were also used in order to compile the Retrospective Lexicon of Municipalities of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic 1950 - 1970 (Federal Statistical Office, 1978). This publication of particular importance collects different valuable data, e.g. on the development and distribution of the population, on the number of houses by municipalities and their parts, on the development of names of municipalities and others.
  • The 1991 Population and Housing Census was the last Czechoslovak census. Modern computer technology was used to realize, process and publish results. The religion question of the population was again included in the census, and in comparison with the previous censuses, the range of surveyed nationalities was also extended (for the first time, the Roma nationality was separately surveyed). Due to political changes, the planned wide range of published results were considerably narrowed. Many of the originally planned statistical reports were not processed. The primary data stored on storage media made it possible to convert the results of the 1991 census into a changed territorial organization of the Slovak Republic.
  • The 2001 Population and Housing Census was based on the methodological recommendations of the United Nations and the European Union. The decisive moment of the census was 26 May 2001. The current data to this date were collected by using the self-enumeration method, i. e. they were entered by the residents themselves into the census forms. The legislative, organizational and methodological preparation of the census, as well as the method of collection, processing, publication and presentation of the collected data were provided for the first time in history by the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic.
  • The 2011 Population and Housing Census was conducted in the Slovak Republic on 21 May. The Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council obliged all member states of the European Union to carry out a census in the same year according to the same, or comparable definitions. This census was also exceptional, because for the first time in history, residents could choose whether to fill out the census forms in paper or in electronic form. In particular, it was noteworthy the way, in which the results of the 2011 census were made available in accordance with the uniform requirements of Eurostat laid down in the regulations of the European Parliament, the Council (EC) and the Commission through the Census Hub application system.