MORE FILING CENSUS DATA ON THE NET

From 5 per cent two weeks ago, the figure has leapt to 15 per cent, and it includes those who are over 50 years

By DENISE WONG

MORE people are filing census data online now than two weeks ago, with even those over 50 years of age finding the website for it user-friendly and quick.

The Singapore Population Census 2000, launched on March 23 to collate additional information for its existing database, now has 15 per cent of respondents filling census forms online, compared with 5 per cent two weeks ago.

The Department of Statistics' findings show a wide range of families have filed on the Net. Many of these households have students or young working adults in them, but others consist only of those above 50 years old.

GAP International Sourcing compliance administrator Lou Lian Pei, 26, who filed online for her five family members, said it took her just an hour. "The site is reasonably user-friendly," she said. "Its no-frills appearance makes the download time of each page much shorter."

The department estimates that e-filing takes 30 to 45 minutes for a four-member household.

It assures those worried about giving personal details over the Net that the data is highly confidential and protected by a security system.

Said Ms Lou: "Having interviewers come into your house is an even greater intrusion of privacy. My dad is old and doesn't like it." Respondents can file via the Internet, by telephone or through face-to-face interviews.

The Department of Statistics said the Net's use has reduced substantially the amount of manpower it needed for such an exercise.

The 1990 census deployed 3,500 field workers. This time, only 250 people are needed, besides the 150 telephone interviewers and data-processing clerks.

E-filing has also cut costs to almost a third of the regular bill. The total cost of Census 2000 is $22 million, inclusive of computer-data processing. The traditional fieldwork approach would have cost $70 million.

'It was easy'

'The site is reasonably user-friendly. Its no-frills appearance makes the download time of each page much shorter.'

-- Ms Lou Lian Pei, 26, who filed online on behalf of her five family members