As part of its activities of disseminating the 2004 Census of Population and Housing, the National Statistic Directorate (NSD) has already produced four publications. The first one is a book with the national priority tables, containing tables considered by the specialized agencies of the United Nations as the most relevant to construct after the census data are processed. The second publication is a booklet containing selected demographic indicators calculated with census data, graphs and maps. The third product is a poster that displays basic population and demographic information. The fourth publication is the Census Atlas, a collection of selected thematic maps and tables on population characteristics of Timor-Leste. The natural fifth product is a set of books with priority tables at the district level.
Census data are used to conduct diverse economic, social and demographic studies about the entire country, but are also much utilized to analyze areas at different levels of aggregations. These are mainly administrative areas such as regions, provinces, districts, municipalities, counties, villages or even the so called census enumeration areas or census tracks. Data for local areas enable the user to obtain statistical information on specific localities of interest as well as to examine variations among local areas. Typical examples are the use census socioeconomic indicators to rank local areas according to their level of socioeconomic development in order to focus development programs where they are most needed. In other words, not only the magnitude of population needs is important but also the spatial location of such needs. Local area analysis is also used to compare labor markets in order to analyze potential migration streams. Actually, it is the main source of internal migration data.
The results of population and housing censuses are useful for planning and monitoring plans directed to the development of local areas, small towns, geographic regions, etc. It is also important to remember that, although the implementation of national social and economic development programs is a function of the state, when it comes to the execution, many national programs are the responsibility of local areas administration.
It is important to remember that the census is the only source that provides total statistical coverage, from the broadest level (country) to the most local areas, which in the case of the 2004 Census was the suco . It makes it possible to study all kind of demographic, social, occupational or ethnic sub-groups at the finest level. Because of its coverage of the entire country, it is an essential master sample frame for any household survey.
As mentioned above, census data have been traditionally aggregated by various types of administrative units. However, there is an increasing demand for local area data that cut across the local administrative boundaries. For example assessments of the impact of population on the environment may require such special areas. The spatial units for those types of studies may combine a group of small local administrative areas in order to form the required sector. In this situation the availability of census databases with mapping capability is of great importance.
It is finally important to mention that a major administrative use of census data is in the delineation of constituencies and the allotment of representation on governing bodies. Detailed information on spatial distribution of the population is essential for this purpose. Many aspects of the legal or administrative status of territorial divisions may also depend on the size of their populations.
To summarize, there is an ample amount of census data that is used at the level of administrative divisions of countries. In Timor-Leste, the district is one of the most important of such divisions. Providing information at this level will satisfy many needs. Therefore, as the country faces the challenges of planning its future development, it is expected that the publication of the set of 13 books, one per district, will be of extensive use by planners, policy-makers, researchers and administrators, especially at the local level.
It is also important to mention that two tables in these publications present data at the sub-district and suco level. One includes the population by sex and the other the number of households. An additional piece of information provided in these tables is the rural or urban classification of the suco.
Each book contains 8 sections dealing with a diversity of topics: population, social characteristics, households, fertility and mortality, education and literacy, economic activity, disability and housing.
Each section contains several tables, which are considered to contain the most relevant information according to consultations with national and international agencies. As mentioned above, recommendations of specialized agencies of the United Nations were also taken into account. It is likely that some tables considered by some agencies as important were not included. However, these tabulations represent a compromise between the ideal desired tabulations and the limits imposed by practical considerations. In any case, the National Statistics Directorate is able to produce special tabulations on demand if census data users require tables not included in these publications.
It is important to notice that a section on migration was not included in these publications. Data on international migration and migration between districts is presented in the National Priority Tables publication and it is redundant to present those migration tables also here. Migration within districts (for example between dub-districts or sucos) is not possible to obtain because migration data from the census questionnaires was entered only at the district level.