|CHAPTER 3. CENSUS
The Republic is made up of the main Island of Mauritius, the Island of Rodrigues and several islands located at distances greater than 350 Km from the main island. The main land is divided into nine districts. These divisions which date to the time of the French occupation, no longer represent any administrative entity, though they are well known to most people.
The Island of Mauritius is divided into nine administrative regions - five Municipal Council Areas (MCA) and four District Council Areas (DCA). The MCAs and DCAs are further broken down into smaller areas, known as Municipal Wards (MW) and Village Council Areas (VCA) respectively. There are 20 Municipal Wards and 124 Village Council Areas. Municipal Wards constitute the urban regions and the Village Council Areas the rural regions.
The Island of Rodrigues is administered by the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development while the other islands are administered by the Ministry of External Communications. Rodrigues and the other islands are wholly rural.
There exists a third division, the electoral constituency division which is used for the parliamentary elections. There are twenty electoral constituencies on the main island and one on the island of Rodrigues.3.2 Census enumeration divisions
Because of the various types of boundaries that exist and the overlapping of one type on the other, a census mapping that takes into consideration all existing boundaries would be a complex and almost impossible task.
As at the 1990 Census, Municipal Wards and Village Council Areas, which constitute administrative regions for which data would be most relevant, were used as the starting point for the subdivision of the country into census enumeration areas (EAs). In splitting MW/VCAs into enumeration areas, care was taken to provide well-defined clusters with easily identifiable boundaries such as roads, lanes, rivers, etc. Enumeration areas were as far as possible made to contain equal number of households. On the average, enumeration areas contained about 75 households in rural regions and about 90 in urban regions, although the range of variation was between 0 in uninhabited areas to 260 in some EAs.
As regards the Island of Rodrigues, the island was split into enumeration areas having on average about 85 households, the range of variation being between 8 and 225 households. Fourteen zones regrouping adjacent localities were also identified.
There were 3,472 enumeration areas in the Island of Mauritius, 93 in Rodrigues and one in Agalega.
Below is a chart showing the census enumeration divisions used at Census 2000.
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The work of the Cartographic unit of the Office consisted of the continuous process of map updating after field visits. Maps that had been used for the 1990 Census and for other intercensal surveys were available; however, these needed further updating.
Various source documents were used in the preparation of census enumeration maps. These were on three different scales, namely the 1:2,500, the 1:10,000 and 1:25,000. Maps on the 1:10,000 and the 1:25,000 scales were used mostly for rural regions where there was little or no habitation. Base maps were mainly from the Ministry of Housing and Lands. Other sources include plan of morcellement plots from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and maps of housing estates from the National Housing Development Company Ltd.
At the beginning of 1998, an inventory of existing maps was made to have an assessment of the work already covered. For enumeration maps to be ready by the end of 1999, field visits were done almost every day and due attention was given to areas where there had been considerable development in terms of new settlements. Fieldstaff of the cartographic unit were requested to provide estimates of the number of households in the different regions covered by them, these estimates being important in the allocation of workloads to the field staff working for the census enumeration. Updating of maps was done as and when field visits to the various regions were completed. The main task, thereafter, was the production of the Supervision Area maps and the Enumeration Area maps. Relevant boundaries of Geographical Districts, Municipal Wards/Village Council Areas and Enumeration Areas were inserted on the updated maps which all carried the main ground features of the regions. Supervision Area maps which showed agglomeration of enumeration areas falling under the control of a Supervisor were less detailed than the enumeration area maps. Supervision Area maps were produced on a 1:25,000 scale for rural regions and on a 1:5,000 scale for urban regions. Enumeration Area maps, which were needed at a more detailed level, were produced on a 1:2,500 scale.
Fieldwork in the Island of Rodrigues consisted of two two-week visits by officers of the Cartographic Unit to the island in 1999. Area maps used for the 1990 Census were then updated accordingly. The boundaries of the previous census enumeration areas were retained, except in the few cases where equitable allocation of workloads dictated otherwise.3.4 Geographical coding system
The software used for tabulation provides with the possibility of producing tables at any defined geographical level; tables produced can then be summed up to higher levels if needed, provided that the geographical divisions follow a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical structure used at Census 2000 was the same as that used at the 1990 Census; however, an additional level was added to cater for the different islands.
The following geographical coding structure was used:
Thus the two-digit codes of Municipal Wards/Village Council Areas, when associated with the relevant district and island codes, gave unique Municipal Ward/Village Council Area identifiers made up of four digits. Similarly, an EA was uniquely identified by a six-digit code comprising the island code (1 digit), the geographical district code (1 digit), the Municipal Ward/Village Council Area code (2 digits) and the Enumeration Area code (2 digits).
In rare cases, boundaries of a VCA extended over two or three geographical districts. The same hierarchical coding procedure was applied to each part of the VCA, each part bearing the code of the district in which it was located. A total of about 25 VCAs had their boundaries over two or three districts.
Other geographical subdivisions, such as electoral constituencies and localities were also used; these, however, constituted geographical hierarchies different from the above.