The Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES) is an important prerequisite of census. In 2011, amid the proposals to conduct delayed census, a similar survey was conducted countrywide. However, its findings became controversial and provinces started objecting on its findings and transparency. That is why the Pakistani government declared the survey findings null and void later on.
And now, before the census count, a three-day fresh household survey is underway in the first phase of census. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the responsible organisation for conducting the census, also conducts the HIES.
The HIES is conducted prior to holding a census to know the size of a family. The forms for the current census were actually printed in 2011 but later the census was postponed due to the security situation.
“The HIES 2011 report was cancelled soon after its compilation because some provinces raised objections on its findings and doubted its transparency because the survey was conducted by civil institutions and without the army’s help to ensure security and credibility,” says Habibullah Khattak, a senior official of the PBS. He says now a fresh survey is being conducted.
The HIES conducted in 2011-2012 covered 15,807 households. It provided important information on household income, savings, liabilities, and consumption expenditure and consumption patterns at the national and provincial level with urban/rural breakdown.
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It also included requisite data on consumption for the Planning and Development Division for estimating poverty. The survey, according to some PBS officials, showed a trend of over-counting in areas of Sindh and Balochistan.
According to estimates of HIES in 2011, the share of Sindh in population might have increased by six per cent and that of Balochistan by two per cent while the share of Punjab might have gone down by eight per cent.
The HIES was started in 1963 and has continued ever since with some breaks. In 1990, the questionnaire was revised in order to address the requirements of new system of National Accounts. The surveys were conducted during 1990, 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1996-97 using the revised questionnaire.
The HIES was merged with Pakistan Integrated Household Survey in 1998-99, 2001-02 and questionnaire was further improved. It was also split into two modules in order to get quality of information independently from male and female respondents by male and female enumerators respectively.