Background of the African Census Analysis Project (ACAP)

Brief History of Census-Taking in Africa
Availability of the Census
African Census Analysis Project
The Future of ACAP


The United Nations declared 1960 the Year of Africa in response to the spread of independence and liberation movements across the African continent. At independence very few African countries had conducted a true census of their populations. Census collection is primarily a political process. Thus, the census reflects the political situation in the nation as well as serving the data needs of demographic researchers. Population enumerations in colonial Africa were no more than headcounts conducted by colonial administrators, and the well being of the population was not a major consideration. These headcounts provided estimates of the “available manpower” for fiscal and military purposes for the colonial administration. While they were not scientifically executed, these counts served the basic administrative needs at the time.

In order to advance the process of census enumeration in Africa the UN developed the African Census Project. This project helped improve census-taking on the African continent. However, while the census-taking project itself became standard, the preservation and analysis of these data was not fully developed within the various African statistical offices.

In recognition of the need to preserve African census data in order to avoid perpetual loss due to poor storage, as well as the need to encourage and enhance further analysis, dissemination, and utilization of the massive census data, the African Census Analysis Project (ACAP) was initiated.

Brief History of Census-Taking in Africa >>



Meet Director Tukufu Zuberi


ACAP's success is made possible through its collaboration with affiliates from around the world: