The Central Statistical Office is upgrading its processes in response to COVID-19

15th October, 2020: The Central Statistical Office (CSO), joined regional statistical institutions and Caribbean Statistical Offices to observe Caribbean Statistics Day on October 15, 2020.  On October 20, the CSO will also commemorate World Statistics Day with National Statistical Organisations all around the world.  The General Assembly of the United Nations designated this day as 'World Statistics Day' to acknowledge the importance of reliable, timely and impartial statistics in supporting evidence informed policy.

In the midst of these observations, while much of the work of the CSO has been stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of the key surveys postponed, the CSO has been working on solutions. 

Training sessions have been ongoing with field officers, where over 100 have been trained to date in the use of the Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) software, which will soon replace paper based surveys.  The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is partnering with the CSO to conduct this training regarding the use of the CAPI software, which uses tablets and other electronic devices as a data collection method.

The need for training of Continuous Sample Survey of the Population (CSSP) and field staff has been further emphasized given that the sampling design for the CSSP Labor Force Survey was recently upgraded. This redesign would empower the CSO to disseminate accurate, timely and relevant labor market information. Further, the modernized sampling design will facilitate a ranking of each community in the country according to the factors of social vulnerability. In order to bring this ambitious project out of the design stage and into full fruition, additional training, guidance and monitoring by a specialized survey statistician is required. For this purpose, the CSO has sought a consultant who is an expert in the respective field to provide such a service.  The CSSP is the largest inter-censal exercise currently undertaken by the CSO. A wide range of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics regarding the population of Trinidad and Tobago are gleaned from the conduct of the CSSP.   

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, in her contribution to the Appropriation (Financial Year 2021) Bill, 2020 stated that once the current COVID-19 situation continues to be managed in our favour, the CSO will be conducting the Household Budgetary Survey in the first quarter of 2021, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey – a survey on the welfare status of women and children, also in the first half of 2021.      

Regarding the Labour Force Survey, another household survey, the CSO is currently undertaking a listing exercise of households which is prerequisite to enumeration.  The Minister adds that we hope to obtain telephone contact information during this exercise which will allow us to resume the labour force survey with a reduction in the level of face to face interviewing. We can resume full enumeration when permission is granted to do so or when considered safe to do so.

All other non-household based surveys such as the survey of business establishments and the survey of retail prices are continuing as scheduled.

The CSO has also commenced planning to undertake the Population and Housing Census in May 2022. 



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