The census had earlier been postponed until September this year, but has now been cancelled as the BPS has decided to slash its budget by 41 percent.
“The BPS has cut its budget fund by 41 percent, so it will not conduct the face-to-face census this year," Suhariyanto said during a working meeting with Commission XI of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The BPS now plans to mobilize 1.2 million neighborhood unit chiefs across Indonesia to distribute questionnaires to households as a substitute for the face-to-face census, he informed.
"There will be no face-to-face census in 2020. But, we will take samples in 2021 because the questions are more complete," he stated.
Although some regions are implementing social distancing, the BPS is committed to publishing strategic data to assess the extent to which COVID-19 has impacted social and economic life, he added.
Most of the data will be collected over phone and email. However, several data points, such as on rice production, will be directly collected from the field, he continued.
As of May 5, 2020, 42 million people have registered for the online population census, the first of its kind in the country, initiated by the agency, Suhariyanto declared.
"Until yesterday, 42 million people have participated in the online population census," he said.
Although the figure has increased compared to 38.84 million on April 14, 2020, it only accounts for 15 percent of the total Indonesian population of 260 million, he noted.
Related news: Furnish truthful data for 2020 Population Census: Jokowi
Related news: Indonesia's population to reach 319 million in 2045