ECLAC recently worked with the Statistics Department of the Government of Montserrat to make data from the country’s 2011 population and housing census available online through REDATAM. Montserrat is the smallest of ECLAC’s associate member countries. Its usual resident population at the time of the 2011 census was 4,922 while the population living in private households was 4,775. Going back to 1900, the island had had a population of between 11,000 and 13,500 but, beginning in 1995, the eruptions of the Soufrière Hills volcano resulted in more than half the island becoming uninhabitable and a large population exodus.
The application was designed to protect the confidentiality of the census microdata, a particularly important consideration for such a small territory. This is achieved by controlling the functionality that is offered to users, allowing them to make certain data requests but preventing others. Some census variables were recoded to prevent individuals (or households) being identified by rare population characteristics. This recoding was more significant where variables are available for cross-tabulation which is where the main disclosure risk lies. For this reason, users are restricted to cross tabulating no more than two variables. Data is available for three regions and seventeen villages although not all the information is available at village level.
This is the first time that census data for Montserrat has been made available through REDATAM, and Montserrat is certainly the smallest territory to have implemented the software. The application is proof that REDATAM is a tool which can help countries, both large and small, to provide universal access to their census microdata.