NSI: So far, more than 1.3 million people in Bulgaria have taken the online census

At 6 a.m. on September 18, a total of 1,327,801 people in Bulgaria took part in the online part of the 2021 census, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said.

According to NSI, that was one fifth of the country’s population and totaled 584,236 households.

Of those who participated, nearly 60 percent were women, and the most active were women between the ages of 40 and 49, the NSI said.

Most participants had Sofia, the city and the district with 30 percent each, the institute said. The least activity was in Kurdhzali, only seven percent of the population.

While the online phase of the 2021 census in Bulgaria was extended to the end of September, Personal visits to households by counters began, according to the NSI. on September 18th.

It was said that enumerators would only count people who did not participate in the online phase or who did not want to participate.

Visits to meters will take place daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., every weekday, including weekends and the public holiday of September 22nd, the institute said.

Earlier this week, the caretaker government extended the online phase of the census due to difficulties in using the system. The NSI blames online attacks for these difficulties.

On September 18, the Bulgarian national radio Krassimir Simonski from the state e-government agency reported that the census software had not been subjected to network and security authentication.

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

According to the BNR, the public procurement of the system cost the state 2.5 million leva excluding VAT.

This led to the fact that members of the Bundestag Committee on Digitization were “amazed” that no controls were carried out.

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

BNR said the general census process will not be extended beyond the planned end date of October 3.

NSI boss Sergej Tsvetarski said all problems had been solved by their specialists.

In contrast, on September 18, some members of the public reached out to The Sofia Globe to complain of ongoing difficulties in participating online.

The fine for not taking part in the census is 160 leva. Tsvetarski said no fines would be imposed for not participating in the online phase.

He said that it was not intended to fine seven million people, but that the fines were there to counter willful malicious acts against the census. The goal is not to raise money, said Tsvetarski.

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