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Swiss Federal Population Census December 2, 1980

[Instructions for enumerators not presented here]

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[Calendar for enumerators and prologue are not presented here]

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[Table of contents is not presented here]

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1. General overview

1.1 Why a population census?

Since 1850 Switzerland has conducted a census every 10 years. Its main purpose is to obtain population counts for Switzerland as a whole, the cantons and the municipalities. The census statistics are the basis for distributing political mandates and the distribution of subsidies and the share of net profits (e.g. from the alcohol monopoly and the National Bank). As well, in some cantons, the counts of persons obtained from the census are used to determine new parishes, the pay of teachers, the pay of municipal employees, cantonal subsidies to cantonal hospitals, and equalization payments between Cantons and municipalities.

The census is the only method to count the population for the whole of Switzerland according to standard criteria because other sources such as population registers, tax registers etc. are maintained at different standards or cover only part of the population.

The census does not only determine the number of persons, but collects data through the questionnaires on the structure of the population according to type of households, sex, marital status, age, home municipality [Heimat], religion, language, education, profession, etc. Not only do the federal, cantonal and municipal offices but also special groups of the population obtain a numeric base through the censuses for solving economic, social and cultural problems.

In general, the results of the censuses allow an analysis of our very faceted social and economical life and of the development of our population over time. Without a statistical basis no modern state or economy can address the demands placed on them.

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1.2 Why a building and dwelling census?

The same as ten years ago, a building and dwelling census is connected with the population census. In contrast, however, the 1980 Census is directed only to the owners of the buildings or their representatives.

The number of buildings, of occupied or vacant dwellings, as well as those of second or vacation homes, provides essential information to all interested groups.

The information is structured according to age, size, level of comfort and distribution of ownership. The link with the data from the population census allows insights into the living conditions of the Swiss population. The results provide the basis for addressing the many economic and social-political problems.

[p. 7]

1.3 Legal basis for the census

The decree of February 6, 1980 by the National Council obliges every person connected with conducting the census to treat the information as confidential.

The decree also demands that all persons belonging to the residential population of Switzerland (Swiss and foreign nationals) fill out the questionnaires truthfully and completely.

If someone refuses to be counted or certain persons refuse to answer specific questions because they think these questions intrude their privacy, then the enumerators should try to convince them otherwise. In particular, they should stress the confidential nature of the information. In cases of further refusal, the municipal office is to be informed.

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1.4 New data capture method

To capture the answers from the questionnaires for computer processing, optical reader technology will be used, as was done for the 1970 census, which can determine whether a certain field was marked and which can read numbers and letters.

While for the last census all handwritten answers still had to be coded [before reading], this time the written answers are captured as images which then will be displayed on screens; data capture clerks, without referring back to the paper questionnaires, then type shortened versions of the handwritten text into the computer for subsequent automatic coding using a list of keywords.

Names and first names will not be captured; so it will be impossible to provide individual data.

So that the machines can read the questionnaires accurately, certain conditions need to be adhered to: the paper questionnaires should not be folded or be dirty; they should be filled in with a pencil (preferably on a soft writing pad); the writing should be clear and should not be close to the coding spaces (marked "please leave empty"); mistakes should not be crossed out but erased carefully.

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1.5 General organization of the census

The census is done household by household and counts over 6 million persons. It is evident that such large undertaking cannot be executed by one administrative office. Before census day about 35,000 enumerators are mobile to visit the individual households.

According to the federal law of February 3, 1980, a census is conducted every 10 years during the month of December. The overall organization of the enumeration and the processing of the questionnaires is the responsibility of the FSO. The actual enumeration is the responsibility of the Cantons which in turn delegate that task to their respective municipalities. The municipalities assign 50 to 60 households to each enumerator who distributes the questionnaires, collects them after a certain time and checks the answers.

To be able to fulfill all their duties, the enumerators receive training and instructions from municipal persons assigned to the census who have been trained by the FSO during an instruction seminar.

Any citizen can approach the enumerator, the municipality or a telephone service operated by the FSO from 25 November to December 3, 1980 to obtain clarifications about the enumeration.

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[Schema about the various responsibilities of FSO, cantons, municipalities and enumerators is not presented here]

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1.6 Enumeration documents for the enumerators

By November 25, 1980 the latest, the municipality has to provide its enumerators with the following documents:

  • The decree of the National Council
  • Instructions for the enumerators
  • Two control lists
  • Envelopes for private households
  • Person lists for collective households
  • Questionnaires for persons
  • Building questionnaires (pre-filled or not pre-filled)

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1.6.1 A control list for every enumeration area

The control list is an important tool to conduct the enumeration without gaps and is a sort of inventory list about the distributed and subsequently collected questionnaires.

Page 1 will be filled in by the municipality and contains an exact description of the enumeration area. It also serves as enumerator badge.

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1.6.2 An envelope for each private household

The envelope for private households serves to contain all person questionnaires for a household.
On its first page are listed all persons categorized into four categories according to their presence or non-presence on census day. For each person the following information has to be entered: name, first name, year of birth, and residential address or address of current stay.

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1.6.3 A person list for every collective household

On this list, all persons living in the collective household need to be listed with their name, first name and address. Three categories need to be distinguished:

  • Persons without their own household
  • Occupants, boarders, guests who reside permanently in the collective household
  • Occupants, boarders, guests who reside temporarily in the collective household
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1.6.4 A person questionnaire for each person

The person questionnaire contains the questions posed to each person. There are six categories of questions:

A. Questions to all persons (name, first name, date of birth, sex, marital status, relationship to head of household, mother tongue, religion, place of birth, home town [Heimat], place of residence five years ago)

B. Questions to employed persons, pupils and students on place of work and commuting

C. Questions to persons age 15 and over on education and qualifications

D. Questions to employed persons about their employment

E. Questions to retired persons about their former employment

F. Questions to married women on the year of their marriage and their number of children from the current marriage

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1.6.5 A building questionnaire for each building with residential dwellings

The building questionnaire allows to collect information on buildings and dwellings contained therein according to several characteristics, e.g.

  • Number of rooms and floor space
  • Rent
  • Equipment
  • Type of heating

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[Tasks of the enumerator are not presented here]
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[Preparation for enumeration is not presented here]

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2.2 Distribution of questionnaires

The questionnaires will be distributed to the population according to the instructions of the municipality between November 26 and December 1. Large institutions, hotels, hospitals, homes etc can receive the material earlier.
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The questionnaires are to be handed over to an adult in each household. They cannot be dropped into mailboxes.

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2.2.1 How are the questionnaires to be distributed?

The enumerator has to visit each house and each household in the enumeration area; an envelope with the household number has to be handed over to each household.

The enumerator has to check whether there are persons living in basement or attic rooms. Don't forget to check in factories, schools, commercial buildings, etc. as often they might have dwellings for administrators etc. Also, persons in emergency shelters, barracks, mobile homes, ships are to be included in the enumeration.

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Collective households (institutions, hotels, etc) receive a person list for collective households and sufficient numbers of person questionnaires.

If the owner or administrator of the building lives in the building then he receives the building questionnaire.

Should that be not the case or the building is vacant or a weekend or vacation home, then the enumerator fills out the building questionnaires to the best of his observations. The municipality will complete such incomplete building questionnaires.

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When distributing the questionnaires, please inform the populations when you intend to pick up the filled out questionnaires.

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[Instructions for collecting completed questionnaires are not presented here]

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[Maintaining control list is not presented here]

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[Instructions for checking control numbers are not presented here]

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[Instructions for forwarding enumeration documents are not presented here]

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3. Explanations of the questionnaires

3.1 Questionnaires for households

Two types of households are distinguished: private households which receive an envelope for private households and collective households which receive a person list for collective households.

3.1.1 Envelope for private households.

What is a private household?

A private household consists of members of a family and all other persons living with them (e.g. maids, apprentices, boarders, permanent guest, care staff).

A person living alone is a private household regardless whether the person has his/her own apartment or is a subtenant or lives in a mansard room. If a subtenant of boarder takes one meal daily with the landlord, then he/she is a boarder and thus part of the household of the landlord.

Persons, including non-related persons who are keeping house together, form a single household.

Examples of a private household:

  • A family in a rented apartment;
  • A farmer and his family with farm helpers living in the farm house or adjacent buildings;
  • Two or more persons having rented together an apartment;
  • A person living in a rented room and looking after his/her own cooking;
  • A married couple which has rented part of an apartment;
  • Occupants of mansard rooms or basement rooms
  • Nurse in her own apartment in a dormitory;
  • Embassy staff without diplomatic immunity or Swiss nationality, living in the household of a diplomat.

The following situations do not form a private household:

  • Boarder in the dwelling of the owner of the boarding house;
  • Apprentice living in the household of the master;
  • All those groups of persons considered a collective household.
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The envelope for private households has to be filled in as follows:

Four categories of persons are distinguished. The head of household lists on the envelope all persons living in the household, all persons being present temporarily as well as persons being absent.

a) list of all persons living here and being present on the night of December 1 to 2.
b) list of all persons normally living here but being absent on census day
c) list of all persons who are family members but return home only on weekends, each quarter or semester as long as they are still registered in their home municipality
d) list of all persons present in this household on census day but who live normally somewhere else.

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3.1.2 Person list for collective households

What is a collective household?

Collective households are groups of persons who live in hotels, boarding homes, care homes, boarding schools, hospitals, company dormitories. Owners/managers of such facilities and their family member form private households. The same applies for staff in such facilities who live in their own apartment. They will be enumerated as private households.

Institutions and care homes, for the purpose of the census, are:
Hospitals, hospices, sanatoriums, psychiatric clinic, care homes, homes for the blind, homes for the deaf, boarding schools, children homes, old age homes, cloisters, prisons, etc.

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Other collective households

This includes staff members and company workers who live in a common accommodation but do not keep house and are neither connected to another household, e.g.

  • Three or more journeymen who are provided with accommodation by the employer
  • On-site construction workers
  • Tourists in mass accommodations, etc
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3.2 Building questionnaire

3.2.1 For which buildings is a building questionnaire to be completed?

A building questionnaire is required for every residential building (single family home, multiple family home, farm, apartment building) even if it is occupied only part of the time or is vacant at census time.

For other buildings (factory, administrative building, commercial building, school), a questionnaire is required only if they contain at least one dwelling for residential purposes whether occupied or vacant at census time.

For other accommodations (barracks, mountain huts, mobile homes, ships), they should be enumerated only if they are occupied at census time.

New buildings only if they have already some occupied apartments.

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3.3 Questionnaires for persons

3.3.1 For which persons in private households has a person questionnaire to be completed?

A person questionnaire is to be completed for every person in private households who lives there permanently or temporarily as well as for family members living elsewhere. Every child born before midnight of December 1 requires a questionnaire. Children born after midnight of December 1 are not to be enumerated.

3.3.2 For which persons in collective households has a person questionnaire to be completed?

All persons present during the night between December 1 and 2 need to be enumerated and listed in the list for collective households; however those listed on page 4 do not require a person questionnaire.

In institutions, the questionnaires are usually filled out by the administration.

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3.3.3 Explanations for the person questionnaire

Question 1: Name and first name

For control purposes it is recommended to add the maiden name for married women.

Question 2: Date of birth

Marking the year of birth saves costs for the government and allows early release of the main results from the census.

Question 4: Marital status

Legally married is to be marked as married.

Question 5: Relationship to head of household

In households in which several married couples live, it is important to pay attention to the correct choice of the answer.

In case the father is the head of household, then the wife of his son should not enter wife, but daughter-in-law; however, should the son be the head of household, then she has to enter wife.

For adopted and step children of the head of household, the third field (son or daughter) should be marked; for foster children, foster son or - daughter should be written in the free text field.

Question 6: Mother tongue

For children who cannot speak yet, the mother tongue of the mother should be chosen.

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Question 7: Religion

Old-Catholic write in their answer as such. Followers of not reformed-protestant churches (e.g. Anglicans, Baptists, Salvation Army, Lutherans) as well as special Christian groups (e.g. Adventists, Mormons, New apostolic, Witness Jehovah) write in their answers in the free text field.

Question 8: Place of birth

The inhabitants of the cantons Bern and Jura take into account the situation as it has developed after their new forming.

Question 9: Place of residence (home town) [Heimat]

  • Women married to a Swiss enter the same place as their husbands.
  • Women married to a foreigner and their children who have Swiss citizenship, enter the Swiss place of residence.
  • Widowed or divorced women enter the home place of residence of their last marriage if they did not revert back to their former home place.
  • Communities in one canton with the same name should be described precisely, e.g. Oetwil on the Lake, Oetwil at the Limmat.

Foreigners with several citizenships should enter the country of the last obtained citizenship. Foreigners who have no papers and are also unable to obtain such, or who cannot get protection from the diplomatic office of their home country, enter persons without papers, without citizenship or being refugee.

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Questions 10 and 11: Place of residence 5 years ago, place of work, place of school

Places with the same name should be defined specifically (see question 9).

Working persons who change their place of work frequently should enter the address of the place or work on December 2. Who has two places of work each day enters the more distant one. Student who work at least 15 hours per week enter the place of work, not the place of school.

Question 12: Time for commuting

The time to be counted is from leaving home to arriving at the place of work. Persons coming home only on weekends enter the time of commuting during the week, not from their home on the weekend.

Question 13: Frequency of commuting

Persons commuting twice and more each day mark "twice".

Question 14: Mode of commuting

Persons walking as well taking mechanized modes of transportation enter the latter.

Question 16: Learned profession

This question is to be answered also by non-working persons and housewives. The profession is to be entered which has been acquired after the obligatory education.

The question on a profession learned subsequently applies to persons who acquired a second profession after they had acquired a first. This includes persons who acquired first a trade and then went to university; both professions should be entered.

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Question 17: Present occupation, livelihood

Farm wives and other adult persons who work on the farm in addition to their housework, should enter "housewife" as well as "full time or part time employed". In question 18a they should enter only the time which they spend normally at farm work and in question 18c the time for housework.

Persons age 16 and over who are dependent on their relatives should mark the field "other sources of livelihood", as long as they are not un-employed, housewives or students. Other sources of livelihood are also alimony, scholarships, support payments, etc.

Question 18: How long do you work normally per week?

The purpose of this question is to measure better the working time of persons employed part time. In particular, housewives should clearly distinguish between time taken for working (18a) and time taken for doing housework (18c).

Question 19: Principal occupation and part time occupation

a) What is your occupation presently?

The current occupation is to be chosen, not the learned profession. The question is to be answered as precisely as possible. The actual occupation, not the position title, is to be entered (see examples on the questionnaire.)

Fulltime housewives and house daughters enter "housewife" or "housekeeping" in question 19a.
Persons working in institutions enter their specific occupation there.

[p. 43]

b) Position at work

Persons who work all or most of the time in a family enterprise are working family members. Home workers are persons who work in their dwelling or another self-selected place for wages for one or more employer.
Other possibilities are, for example, journey man, apprentice, director, co-owner. Public servants give their position title.

c) Name of employer, company

Public servants enter the name of their office.

d) Branch of economy, industry

The branch of economy should be specific, such as cotton spinning, hosiery knitting, grocery store, etc.
Female employees in agriculture should state whether they work predominantly in the household or in agricultural duties.

Question 20: Self-employed

Relevant is the number of employees on December 2, 1980.

Questions 21 and 22: Former occupation of retired persons

The analysis of this question is to provide information on health risks and life expectancies of the various professions.

Retired persons state the occupation they had when they retired at the retirement age (men 65, women 62), even so if they might have answered already 19a and b, because they worked beyond the retirement age. If such a job after retirement is different from that before retirement, then the former should be considered for questions 19a and b, and the latter for questions 21 and 22.

[p. 44]

Question 23 ad 24: Questions to married women

The answers are used for the analysis of birth rates of married women.

Number of children:
Legitimized children are to be counted. Children from previous marriages of either the husband or wife as well as adopted and not-legitimized children are not to be counted.

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[Alphabetical index not presented here]