Register census Work progress

The register census is a common project of the statistical offices of the Federation and the Länder. They cooperate closely with the municipalities and other agencies keeping registers and data.

The register census comprises the following specialised statistical areas:

  • Population
  • Buildings and housing
  • Households and families
  • Labour market
  • Education

These modules are currently undergoing further methodological development so that a modern infrastructure for register-based statistics production can be set up. Cloud technologies and artificial intelligence methods, for instance, will be applied here. It is also examined to what extent remote sensing data (satellite images and aerial photographs) may be suited to support the production of the census results. High priority is given to ensuring data quality. This is why preparations are made for scientists to accompany the project by independently evaluating the methods of the register census.

Since the population figures are very important as a basis for decision-making and planning, the method of register-based data collection must be thoroughly tested. The Bundestag and Bundesrat therefore adopted the Act regarding the testing of a register census in May 2021. In the methodological test to start in mid 2022, it will be examined among other things how register data can be reliably combined. The procedure of settling discrepancies regarding the place of residence will also be tested.

Intensive work is in progress to fulfil three basic requirements that must be met for the register census to be implemented.

  • Data basis: The required data come from different sources. Some topics can be covered by existing registers. Regulations must be established in legal, technological and organisational terms for the statistical offices to access the data. New registers have to be set up for areas where there are no data sources yet.
  • Data quality: Data from various registers that are primarily used by authorities and where in part other definitions are applied than those used in official statistics have to be processed to obtain reliable census results. Methods for processing register data and for assuring their quality are therefore developed.
  • Data linkage: To implement the once-only principle, the required data have to be combined while complying with data protection regulations. The necessary legal and technological preconditions must be created.

In addition to conceptual work, further national legal acts must be adopted at the beginning of the 20th legislative term to enable the register census to be prepared and conducted and to keep the tight time schedule. At EU level, the framework regulation "European Statistics on Population and Housing" (ESOPH) is being prepared and intended to come into force in late 2023. It is expected for many areas that annual or even monthly availability of census results will be demanded.