Central Administration for Statistics
Documentation about the 1971 Census of Population, Occupation, Dwellings and Buildings of the German Democratic Republic (Census of 1.1.1971)
Berlin: January 1984
[Table of contents and appendices are omitted here]
The last census in the GDR was taken on 31 December, 1964. A new census was required for 1 January, 1971 so that comprehensive statistical information was available for planning for the period 1980-1985. The results of the census aided in taking measures to strengthen the GDR in general, and to improve the working and living conditions of the citizens. Compared with 1964, the 1971 census was enlarged to cover education and dwelling conditions. Thus the preparations were much more complex.
For the first time, a dwelling census and a population census were conducted together and created the basis for the analysis of the relationships between the structures of families, households and dwelling.
The use of the same organization and the same census apparatus for counting both resulted in lower costs than if the two censuses had been done separately.
On 30 April 1969 a test census was conducted in the region of Potsdam. The goal was to determine what questions should be posed to the population. Only those questions were posed, which resulted in information absolutely necessary for governing the state and that could be answered correctly.
The following forms and questionnaires were used:
- Household questionnaire (see appendix 4)
- Dwelling questionnaire (see appendix 5)
- Building questionnaire (see appendix 6)
- Institution questionnaire
The household questionnaire was used to capture the persons living in one person or multiple persons households. It contained the following group of questions:
- Sex and date of birth
- Marital status, date of marriage, number of children from current marriage
- Types of income
- Address of principal and secondary place of residence
- Occupation and job
The dwelling questionnaire captured all the dwellings in residential buildings and the dwellings in non-residential buildings and temporary shelters occupied by single person or multiple person households.
It contained the following questions:
- Facilities in the dwelling
- Auxiliary rooms
- Rooms for living
The building questionnaire captured all residential buildings regardless of whether they were occupied or vacant. Non-residential buildings and temporary shelters were recorded only if they had at least one dwelling.
It contained the following questions:
- Type of building
- Condition of building
- Year of construction and number of floors
- Water supply and waste water systems
See organization chart in appendix.
The central census office had the overall management responsibility. It decided on all methodological and organizational aspects, prepared all forms, devised a public communication program and planned the processing and analysis phases.
The existing 15 regional [counting] offices were responsible for all preparatory steps and for conducting the actual census in their regions. They had close contact with all relevant regional [administrative] bodies and informed the president of the regional councils about the status of the census preparation and execution.
The county census offices existed as temporary organizations [for the period of the census] and were responsible for preparatory steps and for conducting the actual census in their area. They were responsible for
- Cooperation with other local organizations
- Concrete cooperation with in the county census commission
- Ensuring adherence to the law and regulations
- Training and control of the work of the organization offices in counties and cities
- Checking the completed questionnaires and provision of the interim counts.
The census used honorary enumerators and enumeration instructors. Each enumerator covered a census section of 18 to 22 dwellings. Each enumeration instructor was responsible for 5 census sections.
Institutions (collective dwellings) were counted through a separate process, not as part of the regular census sections.
Not included in the census were such buildings which were occupied exclusively by foreign citizens and by Soviet military personnel and their families. But foreigners who were registered for a stay of more than 6 months for reasons of studying and working were included in the count.
In the GDR, 67,363 census areas with a total of 316,264 census sections were delineated.
[Pages 30-31 are missing]
The enumerator was responsible for
- Verifying before census day that the buildings, dwellings, and households and their members, assigned to him/her, could be covered,
- Distributing the questionnaires to the persons responsible for completing them,
- Collected all filled out dwelling and household questionnaires,
- Checking the completeness of all questions,
- Filled out the building questionnaire,
- Prepared the questionnaires for electronic data capture.
These organizational responsibilities were important and required conscientiousness. Even more important was that the enumerator saw his work as a political task which was connected to the societal and economical requirements of the state. That allowed the enumerator to speak to each citizen about the basic questions of our politics and to make a valuable contribution in explaining the politics of our worker and farmer state.
The enumeration instructor was responsible for
- Conducting the census in his assigned area
- For training and supervising the enumerators in his area
- For checking the completeness of the questionnaires and control sheets
- For the processing of interim census results for his area.
The approximately 430,000 enumerators and enumeration instructors did good work
The counting of persons living in institutions was integrated with the general census process. Institutions were collective dwelling for the accommodation and care of citizens who for reasons of working, training or studying, or for educational, health, social or other reasons needed to be accommodated collectively.
For purpose of the census, institutions were, for example, collective dwellings for workers, nurses, students, apprentices, pupils as well as permanent homes for children, youth facilities, retirement homes, permanent care homes, mother homes and others.
All institutions in which at least one person was registered with principal or secondary residence were to be listed in an "institution list". The heads of the institutions were responsible for orderly conducting the census in their respective institutions.
Every person who was registered with principal or secondary residence in the institution received a single person questionnaire. For those persons who were temporarily absent, a questionnaire was to be completed using the information in the institution records. For those persons not able to fill out the questionnaire, the head of the institution did so.
Census reporting date was 1 January 1971, 00:00. People who died after that date were to be counted. Children born after that date were not to be counted.
The 1971 Census of population, occupation, dwellings and buildings was regarded, similar to the census taken after founding the GDR, as a large, politically important project. Only through organizing broad based socialistic team work during the preparation, collection and analysis phases could the goal be reached. On a central basis, it was important to develop a leadership for political mass movement in the regions, counties, cities and villages which ensured broad support among the population for the census and created in the households and families an atmosphere of sympathetic cooperation to provide correct responses.
After the first phase of the census, that is the preparation, the collection of data for persons, dwellings and buildings and the manual processing of the material by the local organizations, followed the second phase of processing the data. That included the processing of the forms within the total statistical apparatus and computer processing.
In this phase were processed
- 6.6 million household questionnaires with 17.1 million persons,
- 6.2 million dwelling questionnaires, and
- 2.2 million building questionnaires.
For every collected person, dwelling and building a punched card was created.
Long before the final results could be made available, interim results were aggregated. Enumeration instructors were asked to provide accelerated results for their areas just three weeks after Census day:
- Count of population
- Number of households
- Number of dwellings
- Average number of persons by dwelling size
From those numbers, interim results on the level of the GDR were aggregated.
The final results were processed with the aid of computers. About 1,300 million individual data were the basis for obtaining complex results about the size and composition of the population, households and families, about the work and job structures, the level of education, and the stock and standard of dwellings. Just after 12 months the results for dwellings and buildings were available and after 18 months the results from the census of population and occupation.
As well, a 5% sample file was created which could be used for subsequent analysis.
Compared with the last census of dwellings in 1961, the stock of dwelling showed:
- Number of dwellings in 1961: 5,506,980
- Number of dwellings in 1971: 6,057,032
The total dwelling floor space was 351 million square meters or 20.7 square meters per inhabitant.
The population changed from 1964 as follows:
A1 Statistical practice
From a speech by the director of the central administration for statistics, Prof. Arno Donda, before the people's chamber.
A2 Law (part I)
A3 Law (part II)
Law for the taking of Censuses in the GDR from 1 December, 1976
1971 Census of population, occupation, dwellings and buildings
[Identification and control numbers]
City, village, city district:
Number of building in building list:
Number of dwelling in dwelling list:
Number of household in household list:
The Census of population and occupation is conducted to obtain precise information about the size and composition of the population, households and families and about occupational structure and level of education. The results serve as scientific base for forecasting and planning and for taking measures to improve the economic, cultural and social living conditions of the population. Thus, conducting the census is in the interest of every citizen.
The census takes place with the cooperation of all levels of society from which many volunteered as honorary [unpaid] enumerators. All persons involved with the census are obliged to treat all information obtained through the census as confidential. The answers will only be used for statistical purposes. (Paragraph 4 of the [census] law).
Who receives a household questionnaire and what defines a household?
Every household receives a household questionnaire. All those persons belong to a household who live and keep house together. A person living and keeping house alone is considered a household and receives a household questionnaire. Subtenants are treated as separate households.
Who should complete the household questionnaire?
For a household with several members, the person contributing the most to the [economic] livelihood of the family is responsible for answering the questions for all members.
In a household with a married couple, one of the spouses is normally responsible for filling out the questionnaire.
Persons living alone and forming their own household fill out a household questionnaire for themselves.
Persons responsible for filling out the questionnaire are obliged by the census law of 1 December 1967 to answer all questions in the household questionnaire truthfully, completely and in due time.
Which persons need to be entered into the household questionnaire?
The person responsible for filling out the questionnaire enters all persons which belong to his/her household and which must have registered with the police [local registration office] that they live at the address of the dwelling (as principal or secondary residence) [GDR had central registration of place of residence for all persons].
Those persons should not be left out who are not present in the household on census day, for example household members who travel or are in foreign countries for business reasons, who are attending training courses or are temporarily in hospitals, or who are in basic military service. Also those members should be entered who have moved to a secondary residence for reasons of job training, work, or study.
Also to be included are household members in prison.
Persons who died after 00.00 hours on 1 January, 1971 are to be listed.
Children born after 00.00 hours on 1 January, 1971 are not to be listed.
Visitors are not to be listed.
For persons with more than one place of residence:
Persons who have more than one place of residence for reasons of job training, work or study should be included with all their characteristics in the household questionnaire which has to be filled out at their principal place of residence. Principal place of residence is the address registered [with the local authorities] as the address of the permanent dwelling according to the registration requirements.
These persons should also be entered with all their characteristics into the household questionnaire at their secondary places of residence.
Name of the person responsible for filling out the questionnaire: ________
Street address: ________
Please have the household questionnaire ready for pick up on 2 January 1971.
[One form could accommodate answers for 4 persons. For each person the form contained the following questions]
6. What types of income do you have? (Persons with several types of income mark several):
 Apprenticeship pay
 Social assistance
 Half or full orphan pension
 Other types _____
 Without own income
Questions about completed level of education (Persons with several completed levels of education list all of them. In case of several completions on the same level the last one obtained is to be listed.)
10. Were you at the end (choose from the following):
 White collar worker
 Member of a farmer or gardener or fisher or tradesman cooperative
 Partner in a limited company
 Commission trader
 Active in small trade
 Freelance worker
 Self employed ____
For 7a the address of the permanent residence is to be entered. Has the person only one residence then question 7a is to be answered and question 7b remains unanswered.
In case were the person has two residences for reasons of employment, training or education then 7a is the address of the permanent residence and 7b of the secondary residence. As a rule the principal residence is the address of the dwelling of the family to which the person belongs and from which the person is temporarily absent.
Persons with a GDR state identity card use the address entries [for both principal and secondary addresses] to answer questions 7.
To question 8: Employment
To questions 9f and 9g:
For pedagogical subjects, the title should be added, for example not just mathematics but high school teacher for mathematics.
For the completeness and accuracies of all entries sign:
____ Signature of person responsible for filling out questionnaire
____ Signature of enumerator
____ Signature of enumeration instructor
1971 Census of population, occupation, dwellings and buildings
The Census of dwellings is conducted to obtain precise information about dwelling conditions of the population and the stock of dwellings in the GDR. The results serve as scientific base for forecasting and planning and for taking measures to improve the living conditions of the population in terms of new buildings and maintaining existing buildings. Thus conducting the census is in the interest of every citizen.
The census takes place with the cooperation of all levels of society from which many have volunteered as honorary [unpaid] enumerators. All persons involved with the census are obliged to treat all information obtained through the census as confidential. The answers will only be used for statistical purposes. (Paragraph 4 of the [census] law).
For what dwellings, and by whom, is a dwelling questionnaire to be completed?
Only one dwelling questionnaire is to be completed for every dwelling, even if several households live in the dwelling. Where there is only one household in a dwelling, the person who provides the major portion of the livelihood of the family is responsible for filling out the questionnaire. In cases where several households occupy one dwelling, then each household enters its respective information.
For a dwelling which is not used for residential purposes (e.g. doctor's office, work shop, boarding house), the user of the dwelling has to complete a dwelling questionnaire as well. For vacant dwellings the information should be entered into dwelling questionnaires by the owner of the building, by a member of the housing administration or housing steward in cooperation with the honorary enumerator.
Persons responsible for filling out the questionnaire are obliged by the census law of 1 December, 1967 to answer all questions in the dwelling questionnaire truthfully, completely and in due time.
Should there be questions when filling out the dwelling questionnaire please contact your enumerator.
Please have the dwelling questionnaire ready for pick up on 2 January, 1971.
Before filling out the questionnaire, please note!
- Make a cross in one of the circles where the choice of answers has been pre-selected!
- Please refer to the explanations on the back of the form!
Instructions for determining the floor space of rooms (section E, C and D)
The floor space of the individual rooms is to be ascertained accurately in square meters. For rooms with square or rectangular floors, length and width are to be provided. Length and width are to be measured, not estimated!
Example: length 5.5.m X width 4.2.m = 23.1 square meters
For rooms of square or rectangular size, only the square meters need to be entered.
For rooms with sloping walls or ceilings, only that floor space is to be entered over which the height of the ceiling is a minimum of 1.88 m.
A W.C. is located:
 2 Outside the dwelling but within the building
 3 Outside the building
A dry toilet is located:
 2 Outside the dwelling but within the building,
 3 Outside the building
B. Information about auxiliary rooms inside the dwelling.
________ Toilet and bath
________ Storage room
C. Information on kitchens
D. Information about rooms in the dwelling (excluding kitchen and kitchenette)
Each household enters the information about the rooms it occupies.
[The rooms are numbered 1 to 10. For each room the following fields are to be filled.]
Running number of room:
To which household does this room belong (Name and first name of person responsible for completing the questionnaire):
________ Length in m
________ Width in m
________ Surface in square meters
________ Use of the room
 2 Vacant
 3 Used for non-residential purposes
For the completeness and accuracies of all entries sign:
____Signature of person responsible for filling out questionnaire
____Signature of enumerator
____Signature of enumeration instructor
To section B: Information about auxiliary rooms inside the dwelling.
Not included are:
- Balcony and loggia
- Auxiliary rooms outside the dwelling, e.g. basement and attic
To section C: Information on kitchens
Should there be more than one kitchen/kitchenette in the dwelling, then each should be listed in a separate row.
A kitchen used also for eating or sleeping is to be treated as a kitchen (section C) not as a room (section D). On the other hand a room with a temporary cooking facility should be treated as a room and not as a kitchen.
A kitchenette is a separate room accessible from another room or hall way or part of a room but constructional separated.
A temporary cooking facility is not a kitchenette.
To section D: Information about rooms in the dwelling
a) They are enclosed from floor to ceiling by walls.
b) They get direct day light through windows.
Rooms are also those which have been converted from shops if they meet the above criteria. Rooms are living rooms, dining rooms, bed rooms, study rooms, children rooms.
Vacant rooms (because they are damaged or are not rented out) must be listed as well and be indicated as vacant.
Those rooms should be listed and marked as such which are used for non-residential purposes (e.g. tailor shop, atelier, doctor's office, commercial renting).
Each household lists only the rooms used by it and those vacant if they belong to the household and enters for each room the name of the household in the appropriate field.
A dwelling has three rooms. It is being lived in by the householder and a subtenant. The householder uses two rooms. He determines the measurements and enters the information into the questionnaire and marks them as occupied. The subtenant occupies one room. He enters the measurements and marks the room as occupied.
Every room is to be entered separately.
Please ensure that no room is overlooked, even if it is vacant currently.
Please ensure that no room is entered twice.
Enter all measurements with one decimal point.
1971 Census of population, occupation, dwellings and buildings
 In the rear
 On the side right/left (underline applicable)
B. Ownership of the building
The building is owned by:
 12 State through public council
 13 State through [publicly] owned business/institution
 21 Housing cooperative
 22 Agricultural cooperative
 23 Other socialist cooperative
 30 Social organizations
 40 Business with state participation
 51 Private property
 52 Denominational property
 53 Private property under state administration
D. Year of construction of building
The building was constructed in:
 2 1870-1899
 3 1900-1918
 4 1919-1932
 5 1933-1945
 6 1946-1960
 7 1961-1965
 8 after 1965
If constructed before 1800, in which year? ______
E. Number of floors in building
The building has, including ground floor (but excluding basement and not finished attic)
 2 2 floors
 3 3 floors
 4 4 floors
 5 5 floors
 6 6-9 floors
 7 10-16 floors
 8 17-24 floors
 9 25 or more floors
[p. 89 original document has two pages numbered 89]
For which buildings is a building questionnaire to be filled out?
1. Building questionnaires have to be completed for all residential buildings regardless whether they are occupied, vacant or used for other purposes on census day. That includes single family, two families or multiple-family houses which are constructed as single, double, or row houses. In the case of double or row houses, or apartment blocks, those parts are considered separate buildings which have dwellings connected to a stair case and which are separated by masonry walls reaching from the basement to the attic; for every stair well a building questionnaire has to be completed. For a new apartment block with several stair wells, a building questionnaire has to be completed for each stair well. Side wings and rear wings which have separate entries are also counted as separate buildings.
For the following buildings only one building questionnaire is to be used:
a) Point houses even if they have several staircases
b) Freestanding middle or external staircase houses where the dwellings are accessible via a middle or external staircase.
2. For non-residential houses (e.g. schools, institutions, or administration buildings) a building questionnaire is only to be filled out if it has at least one dwelling occupied by a household.
3. For temporary shelters (e.g. barracks, garden house, trailer, and similar), a building questionnaire is to be filled out if they are used as permanent residences for one or several households, and are not occupied only temporarily (e.g. on weekends or during vacations).
To section C: condition of building
The [census] organization office enters the condition of the building in the control sheet. From there, the appropriate circle in the building questionnaire will be marked.
Condition 2: Building has damages. Requires fixing of things not working to avoid greater damage in the future. (e.g. damage to roofs, gutters, chimneys, windows, doors, stoves, stucco siding, heating, sanitary facilities).
Condition 3: Building has major damages which endanger further use. A general renovation is necessary. A closing of the building might be necessary if left alone (e.g. major cracks in masonry, heavy mold, wet foundation, not-functioning water or sewage).
Condition 4: The building is closed or to be closed by the government authorities because of its bad condition.
Should the information from the organization office be missing, or not match anymore the obvious real condition of the building, a clarification is required. (Please consult the "Enumerator handbook")
To section D: Year of construction
The original year of first construction is to be used regardless of later additions or renovations; for reconstruction after total damage, the year of reconstruction; for buildings constructed before 1800, a best guess based on surroundings and similar buildings if the exact year is not available.
[Each enumerator had to cover 18 to 22 dwellings. Each enumerator instructor supervised 5 enumerators and reported to a local or regional "organization office", which in turn reported higher up. The Census was conducted by the central statistical office in cooperation with regional and local administrations.]
Control sheet for the 1971 Census of population, occupation, dwellings and buildings
[The control sheet was used by enumerators and enumeration instructors to list all buildings (and their conditions), dwellings, names of households and the number of questionnaires to be filled out for each building, dwelling and household]
[Pages 94-96 omitted]