Asia

Pakistan launches first census in 19 years

A government official collects data from a resident during a survey in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Pakistan's chief census officer says the country has launched a national census for the first time in 19 years. Asif Bajwa says the census opened Wednesday and should be completed in two phases by May 15. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

A government official collects data from a resident during a survey in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Pakistan's chief census officer says the country has launched a national census for the first time in 19 years. Asif Bajwa says the census opened Wednesday and should be completed in two phases by May 15. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)  (The Associated Press)

Pakistan's chief census officer says the country has launched a national census for the first time in 19 years.

Asif Bajwa says the census opened Wednesday and should be completed in two phases by May 15. He appealed to all citizens to cooperate with the census data collection staffers.

He says the survey will also count Afghan refugees, diplomats and, for the first time, transgender people.

Some 200,000 soldiers will accompany the civilian staff to collect door-to-door data for the housing and population survey.

Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time.

Analysts believe the number has since risen past 200 million.