The 2010 Population and Housing Census kicked off on time, on 11 July. During the first 24 hours of the census, a selected number of VIPs, including the President, the Prime Minister, the Bishop of Dili, the President of Parliament and the Minister of Finance were counted and interviewed. Timorese and foreigners residing in hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, prisons and orphanages have also been counted already, and the same goes for the homeless people.
The counting and interviewing of everyone living in Timor-Leste, for the second time since the country gained its independence in 2002, is done by approximately 4,000 census field workers and will continue until 25 July. Two sets of questionnaires, both of which exist in Tetun, Bahasa Indonesian, Portuguese and English, are being used to account for everyone in the country. According to the estimates of the National Statistics, the young population (43.2 per cent are under 15 years old) is expected to have grown from 923,198 people in 2004 to approximately 1,155,000 in 2010.
Heavy, unseasonal rains have made the census operation difficult in a few remote parts of the country, but with the help of both horses and a helicopter from the International Stabilizing Force (ISF) vital census material has now been delivered to virtually all areas of the Timorese territory. Generally speaking, the 2010 Population and Housing Census is running smoothly and on schedule. The preliminary results of this mandatory national exercise are expected to be announced by late October, with the main Census Report scheduled to be released in April 2011.