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2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia


       SORS web page –

Population census web page –


C o n t e n t

  • Gener a l remarks
  • The beginning
  • Harmonization
  • Innovations
  • Pilot 1 – The major test
  • Pilot 2 – Education of Roma people
  • Postponement
  • Updating of the statistical and enumeration areas
  • Training
  • Call center
  • Post Enumeration Survey
  • First results
  • Data processing
  • Dissemination
  •    Disclosure control


General remarks

The 2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia was conducted as traditional, full field, door-to-door enumeration using paper forms ( P-1 Indi v idual questionnaire and P-2 Questionnaire for household and dwelling ).

Data collection period :  01 st to 15 th October 2011

Census reference date :  30 th September 2011

Around 45,000 individuals participated in the field implementation of the census (enumerators, instructors census commissions’ members, controllers, supervisors, etc.).


The beginning

The preparations of the 2011 Census officially started in April 2008 when there was a Conference with the aim to get the users of the statistical data to discuss the contents of the forthcoming census, as well as the proposals for new solutions in the field of data entry, processing and dissemination of the census results. In addition to the representatives of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS), the Conference also hosted representatives of the NCIs from the neighboring countries, representatives of the ministries, public bodies, international organizations, universities, local self-governments, nongovernmental organizations, journalists, etc. More than 50 expert papers were presented.

After the Conference a number of meetings were held with representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, ministries, non-governmental organizations, National councils of the national minorities and other organizations in order to define the content of the census forms in the most adequate way.



For the purpose of international comparability of census data, the methodology of the 2011 Census has been fully harmonized with international standards, the essential ones being:

-           Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing, developed by the Statistical Division of UNECE in close collaboration with Eurostat;

-           Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, prepared by the UN Statistics Division;

-           Regulation of the European Parliament and Council EU No 763/2008 – on Censuses on Population and Housing;

-           Commission Regulation (EC) No 1201/2009 of 30 November 2009 implementing the EU Regulation of the European Parliament and Council, No 763/2008 – on Censuses of Population and Housing as regards the technical specifications of the topics and their breakdown (tabulation is aligned with this Regulation, although Serbia does not participate in the Census Hub project)



The most important methodological changes, compared to the Census 2002, are:

-           Introduction of questions about disabilities;

-           More questions about international migrations (persons who have ever resided abroad, data and the main reason of return/immigration to Serbia (family reasons, education, readmission, etc.));

-           Introduction of the question about „de facto“ marital status (data on consensual unions);

-           Questions about computer literacy;

-           Enumeration of the homeless;

-           Implementation of new methodological solutions for monitoring economic activity, etc.

The major change in the area of data processing, in relation to previous censuses, was the use of OCR system for data entry.


Pilot 1 The major test

In April 2009 SORS conducted a Pilot Census on the sample of 50 enumeration areas (0, 1% of the total number of enumeration areas), with expected coverage of 12,000 persons and about 4,000 households. After the Pilot Census, a post enumeration survey was conducted on quality and coverage control of the Pilot Census data on a sub-sample of 6 enumeration areas.

In the Pilot, besides organizational and methodological solutions, a possibility of identification connectivity of Population Census with the Census of Agriculture was tested.

Pilot 2 – Education of Roma people

In the period 1 st to 15 th November 2009, in cooperation with the Ministry for Human and Minorities’ Rights, the National Council of the Roma national minority and the Office for the Inclusion of the Roma of Vojvodina, along with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the SORS implemented another Pilot census.

This Pilot census covered around 8 thousand individuals and around 2 thousand households in 24 enumeration areas (in 23 municipalities) in which, according to the 2002 census results, the Roma population was most predominant. The main goals of this action were education of certain number of Roma people to actively participate in organizational preparations and field implementation of the 2011 Census; informing members of the Roma community on the importance of the census and on their role in the census; strengthening confidence of the Roma minority in the results of the official statistics; better coverage of Roma people in the census;

Also, one of the aspects of this action was to build mutual trust and cooperation between the official statistics and various organizations that deal with the issues of the Roma, which is the basic precondition for obtaining good quality data both on the total number of the Roma in the Republic of Serbia and on the socio-demographic characteristics of the members of this ethnic community.



Pursuant to the Law on the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings (“The Official Gazette of the RS,” no. 104/09), the 2011 Census was envisaged for the period from 1–15 April 2011. However, owing to the lack of funds in the budget of the Republic of Serbia realization had been jeopardized. After an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission (the Delegation of the European Union in the Republic of Serbia) on the joint financing of the census activities had been reached, the Law on the Amendments to the Law on the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011 was passed (“The Official Gazette of the RS,” no. 24/11) and thereby the enumeration was postponed by six months (1-15. October 2015).


Updating of the statistical and enumeration areas

During the previous censuses, the graphic documentation of enumeration areas was not standardized. It used to be prepared in a classic manner and at different geodetic bases, such as working originals, plans, topographic maps... Most of the sketches were not updated and they were without a clear layout, that is, the sketches were of different paper formats, overburdened with different line and numeric geodetic data which represented a difficulty when enumerators had to find their way in the field.

By applying new technologies for the purpose of the 2011 Census, we standardized the form and contents of the sketches. Using the GIS base and the address register and by applying orthophoto shots we achieved higher level of updatedness and readability of the SA and EA sketches. The application of the orthophoto shots, as a real picture of the represented contents in space and time, of the address register and the graphic base of the spatial units proved to be a good selection of the technological assets and of a contemporary working method.


The training of direct participants in the census took place during September 2011.

The first stage was centralized three-day training of republic instructors, trainers were methodologists/supervisors. 

At the next stage republic instructors were trainers for municipal/city instructors and members of census commissions at the three-day trainings held at municipal level.

Finally, at several training points at the territory of each municipality/city three-day trainings for enumerators, with republic instructors as trainers, were organized.

Testing of candidates was organized at each level and the test result was part of the assessment on the basis of which final selection of candidates was carried out. 


Call center

During the census field realization, call-center was disposable on 4 phone lines, from 8:00 up to 22:00. This kind of assistance was provided not only for citizens but also for enumerators and other participants in filed implementation. Duration of call was limited up to three minutes, but it was mostly enough time for giving appropriate information or methodological help.

Call center was also active during the post enumeration survey, but with significantly less number of calls.


Post Enumeration Survey

The post enumeration survey (PES) was implemented from 22 nd October to 5 th November, on the sample of 250 enumeration areas (0.5% of the total number of enumeration areas). The main objective of the PES was evalua t ion of the c o vera g e errors related to the units in the census universe (persons, households or dwellings) which occurred during the census data collection phase and are the result of omitting individual units by the census or their multiple or erroneous enumeration; as well as eva l uation of the content errors that have occurred on account of shortcomings in the registered answers to the questions on census units during the collection of the data and that lead to biases in and inconsistency of the census data.


First results

The first/preliminary results were published on 15 th November 2011, only a month after the field implementation of the census.

Data processing

A smaller part of data processing was performed in Regional offices, while the most of activities were carried out in Belgrade, in the Data center that has been prepared for this purpose.

Main stages of data processing:

-           manual preparation - coding certain parameters, preparation of census forms for optical processing (perforation and folding forms)

-           entering of Control lists

-           scanning of census forms and OCR processing (optical character reading and recognition)

-           contingent control

-           coding of textual characteristics regarding industry (branch of economic activity), occupation and e ducational attainment

-           logical control

-           tabulation



Dissemination of final census results has started in November 2012, and after publishing 30 census books, related to different sets of census results, it was successfully finished in April 2014. This stage of census implementation was realized according to the Dissemination Plan based on national needs but also harmonized with the program of tabulation defined by EUROSTAT (concerning topics and breakdowns, Regulation (EC) 1201/2009).

During this phase SORS was focused on efforts to make census data visible for users as much as possible, and provided access to census results thru several dissemination canals:


Besides the census books, 10 special publications/studies have been published:

Additionally, 4 more special publications/studies are going to be published during 2015:

  • Two decades of regugees in Sebia
  • Young people in Serbia at the beginning of 21st century
  • Demografic profil of eldery population of the Republic of Serbia
  • Population and households in Serbia


Disclosure control

In order to preserve confidentiality and to prevent disclosure of individual data if the aggregation level was low (e.g., the number of occurrences on the settlement level was less than 3), the τ -Argus software was used. By using methods of primary and secondary suppression, t his software covered the individual data with special marks.


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