“What is the main activity of your establishment and how many months was the establishment in operation?” asked Deki Choden as she patiently waited to record the response on her electronic tablet.
Carefully tucked around her neck was a badge captioned “Enumerator for the Bhutan Economic Census 2018”.
Deki is part of a cohort of 80 enumerators—or census takers—who conducted Bhutan’s first economic census from December 2018 to February 2019.
Supervised by Dzongkhag (district) statistical officers and National Statistics Bureau (NSB) staff, enumerators, most of them young school dropouts crisscrossed the entire country to its most remote corners. Some locations they visited even required a four-day walk from the nearest accessible road.
This is urgent as Bhutan’s statistics capacity ranked at a low score of 60 in 2018, trailing its South Asian neighbors who averaged 76.
Enumerators visited a total of 13,997 establishments using a computer-assisted personal interview system or CAPI.
and provide valuable indicators about the structure of the overall economy.
This data will prove useful to formulate evidence-based policies to beef up investments.
In addition, the data will help validate the Statistical Business Register, which is critical for improving economic statistics.
The NSB plans to conduct the Economic Census every ten years.
The World Bank has been supporting Bhutan’s statistics development mainly through a Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB).
The World Bank supported activities include the 2014 National Statistics Development Strategy (2014); NSB’s capacity development to autonomously use CAPI technology and deployment of the Survey Solutions.