Countries with large proportions of their populations being illiterate face a great challenge during the conducting of censuses. Over the years, numerous studies have shown that countries with very high illiteracy rates find it more difficult undertaking efficient population census than countries with high literacy rates. For example, in certain very remote parts of the world where illiteracy rates are extremely high, many people tend to run away from census officials when they arrive to count them. As a result of illiteracy, many of these people feel that it is a taboo to count human beings. Sometimes these illiterates also feel that the government uses counting of people as a strategy to raise the taxes of households. They therefore give wrong information to the census officials or run away from their villages when these census officials come to count them. This often translates into inaccurate population figures. 

AFSHAN HUSSAIN,  

Karachi, April 11.