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Case study December 18th, 2023

Saudi Census 2022: a catalyst for data-driven decision-making

As governments around the world strive to meet the needs of their citizens and adapt to a rapidly changing world, it is essential that the decisions they make are informed by accurate and complete data. Saudi Arabia’s innovative, predominantly digital, 2022 Census is widely viewed as one of the most accurate ever conducted in the Kingdom.

The 2022 Census was the fifth carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a vital component for delivering on the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. High-quality data and statistics gathered through the Census, combined with data from other sources, will inform the Government’s evidenced-based decision making in the years to come.

Making the great even better

The 2022 Census marked a significant advancement from the 2010 Census and used innovative digital techniques and technologies at every stage of the process, from planning and data collection to analysis and communication. To meet the necessary high data standards, reforms introduced at the Saudi General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT), including a new statistical database, laid the foundations for a world-leading statistical office.

Challenge

End-to-end processing

It was essential that the data delivered by the Census met a high level of quality and accuracy. Data would be collected from a range of sources beyond the traditional paper survey – GASTAT planned to use online forms and data from additional administrative sources. Making sure that all this data was collected, cleansed, and validated to create a high-quality data set, and then analyzed and presented in the most useful and valuable format, would require a superior end-to-end data processing engine.

– Dr. Konrad Pesendorfer, General Supervisor of the Census and Chief Statistician, General Authority for Statistics, Saudi Arabia

I am glad to express my appreciation to Nortal for their excellent work in Saudi Census 2022 project, a cornerstone of the Saudi Vision 2030 national program. …Nortal team has been instrumental in the design and implementation of the robust and scalable data processing engine.

Solution

Reliable data, well presented

Working closely with the GASTAT team and using our extensive experience of previous census projects, we created a data processing engine that met their needs exactly and was capable of several different data transformations. The data was cleansed, validated, and enriched to eliminate gaps before being prepared for presentation, along with the careful implementation of metadata to provide structure and context.

Visualization of the Census results and allowing for further analysis of the data by internal and external GASTAT stakeholders was one of the most important elements of the project. We designed and developed more than 15 interactive dashboards and 200 output tables to support communication and analysis, as well as self-service search functionality that would allow the data to be analysed by internal users.

We also created a Saudi Census portal, which features a wide range of interactive dashboards, easy-to-use interactive maps, reports, tables, and charts. The modern and intuitive user design creates an excellent experience that is suitable for external users, while internal users have the option of adding new portal products for additional bespoke analysis in the future.

800m

records processed

12

administrative sources processed

95%+

data quality

Result

A national success

The 2022 Saudi Census has been widely seen as one of the most accurate and comprehensive every carried out and its public launch in May 2023 was a national success. Conducted in line with the best international methodologies, the use of error monitoring and automated data correction techniques meant that data quality exceeded 95%. The Census has set a new benchmark in modern statistics.

More than 800 million records from the survey results and almost a dozen other administrative sources were processed and presented in the form of interactive tables and dashboards. The results set out detailed data in three main categories: population, households, and housing. It found that the population of Saudi Arabia in 2022 was 32,175,244 – 58.4% of who are Saudis.

– Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning Chairman of the Board of Directors, General Authority for Statistics, Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Census 2022 is an important national project, and its outputs will be a key pillar for planning and decision making, developing economic and social policy, creating development plans for various sectors and services, and supporting the investment environment in the Kingdom and achieving the Vision 2030 goals.

Saudi skyline

Future-proof

The 2022 Saudi Census has provided invaluable and reliable data for the Saudi Government as it works towards the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and beyond. It has also reinforced the transformation of GASTAT, laying the foundations for the creation of digital registries and eventually, the ultimate prize, a fully digital statistical office. The Census dashboards and interactive maps can be explored on the Saudi Census 2022 website.

Find out more

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