Ilmi Selami, deputy head of the State Statistics Bureau (DZS) estimates that only about a 1,000 people refused to participate in the census, and says that they will be added to the registry anyway – exempting some personal data such as their religion and ethnicity.

The Levica party called for a boycott of the process, citing both the coronavirus threat and the fact that the census controversially includes the diaspora among the actual residents of Macedonia – in an attempt to inflate the number of ethnic Albanians.

Since the failed census of 2011, Macedonia has an electronic registry in place that compares data from banks, public institutions and border crossings to put together a list of active residents and this will be used to fill in the blanks left by the boycott, Selami said.