Apostol Simovski, the head of the Macedonian State Statistics Bureau (DZS) insists that the institution is prepare to conduct a reliable census in April 2021. Macedonia has last held a census in 2002, and an attempt to have one in 2011 was cut short after ethnic Albanian parties demanded that their high emigration community is counted even if they reside in foreign countries, using Skype.

Simovski insisted that despite the epidemic, the census will be undertaken with teams visiting every individual home – although minority parties are expected to still demand that citizens are counted online during these visits.

We urgently need to have a census. Many statistical indicators are measures as a ratio of the population and since we haven’t had a census in a long time, we use unreliable data for our estimates. We lack a realistic overview of the situation, including data on emigration, which is difficult to measure with alternative means, Simovski said.