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A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). The term is mostly used in connection with Population Censuses conducted by national statistics offices of a country. In the Philippines, the National Statistics Office (NSO) is the major government statistical agency tasked to prepare for and undertake all censuses on population, agriculture, commerce, and industry. Census data is also commonly used for research, business marketing, and planning purposes.


Philippines' Census of Population

The results of the latest Census of Population (2007) conducted by the NSO places the Philippines' population at 88,574,614 as of August 1, 2007. The total population of the Philippines in 2000 was 76.50 million. A 2002 NSO press release also estimated that the Philippines' population is expected to reach 100 million by the year 2016.

Ancient and medieval censuses

One of the earliest documented censuses taken was in the year [500-499] BC by the Persian Empire's military for issuing land grants, and taxation purposes.<ref>Kuhrt, A. (1995) The Ancient Near East c. 3000–330BC Vol 2 Routledge, London. pp 695</ref>

Censuses were conducted in the Maurya Empire as described in Chanakya's (c. 350-283 BC) Arthashastra, which prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for the purpose of taxation. It contains a detailed description of methods of conducting population, economic and agricultural censuses.<ref>History of Indian Census</ref>

The Bible relates stories of several censuses. The Book of Numbers describes a divinely-mandated census that occurred when Moses led the Israelites from Egypt. A later census called by King David of Kingdom of Israel|Israel, referred to as the "numbering of the people," incited divine retribution (for being militarily motivated or perhaps displaying lack of faith in God). A Roman census is also mentioned in one of the best-known passages of the Bible in the Gospel of Luke, see Census of Quirinius.

The world's oldest extant census data comes from China during the Han Dynasty. Taken in the fall of 2 AD, it is considered by scholars to be quite accurate. At that time there were 57.5 million living in Han China, the world's largest population. The second oldest preserved census is also from the Han, dating back to 140 AD, when only a bit more than 48 million people were recorded. Mass migrations into what is today southern China are believed to be behind this massive demographic decline.

In the Middle Ages, the most famous census in Europe is the Domesday Book, undertaken in 1086 by William I of England so that he could properly tax the land he had recently conquered. In 1183, a census was taken of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, to ascertain the number of men and amount of money that could possibly be raised against an invasion by Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria.



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