Census 2011: 5,000 jobs

THIS year's census on 10 April is set to cost up to €6m more than the previous one in 2006.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said a budget of €52m had been set aside for this year's survey. The 2006 census cost €46m and the CSO said it hoped that more savings could be made on this year's count, the budget for which had already been cut by €12m.

Applications for enumerator jobs closed last week with 15,000 people applying for the 5,000 positions available.

The CSO had already gathered more than 5,000 expressions of interest through its website but had said a subsequent national advertising campaign would still be necessary.

A spokeswoman said: "We spent in the region of €40,000 on the recent campaign out of an original estimated budget of €120,000.

"Because of the success of the pre-registration programme, we were able to reduce costs but felt it was still necessary to go ahead with a limited ad campaign.

"We have to be aware that not everybody is online and we did not want to exclude people who did not have access to the internet or might not have heard about it."

Whittling down the 15,000 applicants is complicated by trying to keep an even geographical spread, with previous or similar experience considered beneficial in the interview process, the CSO said. "We will be interviewing three people for every job. We have a list of different criteria: experience and also other skills, ability to read maps, all of the things we would normally look for," said the spokeswoman.

Successful applicants can hope to earn about €2,200 for 10 weeks' work, the spokeswoman added. Pay for enumerators will not change from 2006 levels but the CSO hopes to make savings in other areas. "Over the years, the census becomes more efficient, more streamlined and cheaper. Every census we do becomes more automated," the spokeswoman said. "The cost of the census runs over a number of years and in 2006 was in the region of €46m. The budget for 2011 is about €52m and that has been cut from €64m."

The CSO said the number of questions on the form did not affect cost and that new questions on languages spoken and general health would be introduced.