With the population of Bangladesh standing at 165.16 million in the Population and Housing Census 2022, the general people and experts anticipate a raft of positive changes in the nationwide headcount. There are signs of encouraging changes in many social sectors. As the latest census -- dubbed a provisional one -- was published on July 27, many revisions and updates are also expected. Sloppiness was detected in the preliminary set of facts and data presented. Scheduled to be carried out every 10 years, the population census reports unveil the nation's decade-long performance under certain demographic parameters. In conformity with this pattern, after the first-ever census in 1974, the country has had the surveys in 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011 and the sixth one in 2022. The corona pandemic delayed the current census by a year. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) is in charge of collating essential demographic information collected by enumerators.
Bangladesh in its first census found its population to be at 76.398 million. It demonstrated the country's high population density, which had been found leaving its impacts on every segment of the nation. As years wore on, the census picked newer features, apart from the number of residents in certain areas. A most striking revelation made by the census report 2022 is the pointer to a radical increase in the number of women in the country compared to that of their male counterparts. According to the preliminary census, the country's male population has declined remarkably, with the male-female ratio standing at 98: 100.3. At any rate, this account would have made development strategists feel slightly upbeat about the status of women. The total number of females in the country is 83.35 million, which is 50.50 per cent of the total population, while the number of males is 81.71 million or 49.50 per cent.
Gender specialists feel befuddled over the national status of the male manpower living overseas. They are in a quandary if these male expatriate workers should remain outside the census ambit. Temporary stay outside does not bar them from being included in the census data. The demand that they be included in the census may not be overlooked. If the present information proves wrong in the final census, many other issues involving public money might also prove a sheer wastage. Society wants women to enjoy empowerment. But some myths may stand in the way. This year, the smart young enumerators, equipped with digital devices, felt dismayed at the coldness with which they have been treated at many neighbourhoods, especially the slum areas. Many were unwilling to disclose their income sources, the number of their family members and a lot of other basic information. They were overtaken by the fear of being persecuted by phantom authorities.
In fact, the 'household census' is considered a vital segment of the whole exercise. It is badly needed in the task of determining the persons in need of food consumption, social security and many other basic necessities. Notwithstanding its provisional nature, the census 2022 covered many areas including education, literacy rate, increase in youth population, use of mobile and digital phone devices, internet use etc. Intrusion of errors and wrong information into an overpopulated country's first draft census report cannot be ruled out. That is why everybody looks to a finalised census document free of all types of misinformation or inaccuracies.