NSI: So far, more than 1.3M people in Bulgaria took part in census online

As of 6am on September 18, a total of 1 327 801 people in Bulgaria had taken part in the online part of the 2021 census, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said.

According to the NSI, this represented a fifth of the country’s population and added up to 584 236 households.

Of those who had taken part, close to 60 per cent were women, and most active were women between the ages of 40 and 49, the NSI said.

The largest number of those who had taken part were in Sofia, the city and the district, adding up to 30 per cent, the institute said. The lowest activity was in Kurdhzali, only seven per cent of residents.

While the online phase of Bulgaria’s 2021 census has been extended until the end of September, in-person visits to households by enumerators began on September 18, according to the NSI.

It said that enumerators would count only people who had not taken part in the online phase or did not want to.

Visits by enumerators will take place daily from 8am to 8pm, every day of the week including weekends and the September 22 public holiday, the institute said.

Earlier this week, the caretaker government extended the online phase of the census because of difficulties people experienced in using the system. The NSI has blamed these difficulties on online attacks.

On September 18, Bulgarian National Radio reported Krassimir Simonski of the State e-government Agency as saying that the census software had not undergone network and security authentication.

Simonski said that at the time the system was being built, the NSI had asked whether it should be audited for network security. But the State e-government Agency had said that this was not necessary, because “when the system is licensed, it is not checked”. It is checked only when it is a self-developed system, he said.

BNR said that the public procurement for the system had cost the state 2.5 million leva without VAT.

This had led to MPs on the parliamentary committee on digitalisation being “amazed” by the fact that no checks were done.

The report said that Ombudsman Diana Kovacheva had received complaints about the online census.

BNR said that the overall census process would not be extended beyond the scheduled October 3 end date.

NSI head Sergei Tsvetarski said that all problems had been solved by their specialists.

In contrast to this, on September 18 some members of the public contacted The Sofia Globe to complain of continued difficulty in participating online.

The fine for not participating in the census is 160 leva. Tsvetarski said that people would not be fined for not participating in the online phase.

He said that intention was not to fine seven million people, but the fines there were to counter deliberate malicious action against the census. It was not that the goal was to raise money, Tsvetarski said.

Please support independent journalism by clicking on the orange button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via patreon.com and get access to exclusive subscriber-only content:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292