Pakistan aims for tighter security in 1st digital census

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan launched its first-ever digital population and housing census on Wednesday in an effort to securely gather demographic data on every individual ahead of this year's parliamentary elections, officials said.

The digital count will provide data for policy decisions, which now are based on the 2017 census that counted the population at 207 million people. It's also meant to beef up security and avoid another morass like the one that beset the 2021 census. The results of that count, which was done manually, were never announced over complaints about errors and exclusion.

The results of the digital census will be announced next month, according to Pakistan's Bureau of Statistics, which is conducting the census amid tight security.

On Wednesday, census workers fanned out across Pakistan to collect the data. In addition to policy decisions on such matters as education and health, the information also will be used for the next parliamentary elections.

For the first time, census workers will count transgender people, who are largely neglected in this impoverished Islamic nation. According to human rights groups, there are around 10,000 trans people living in Pakistan.