Bolivia Carries Out National Census in Complete Silence

Bolivia carried out a national census today for the first time in nearly 12 years. The government issued a ruling indicating that all citizens and residents in the country must remain at home for a 24-hour period beginning at midnight Wednesday morning and ending at midnight Wednesday night, in order to be counted.

Across the nation all businesses, stores, schools and institutions were closed. No business of any kind was allowed nor was any type of vehicular or pedestrian traffic allowed except with a special permit. All of Bolivia's towns and cities were eerily silent.

High school and university students were trained in advance to be census takers. The census began officially on Tuesday the 20th when police and military personnel, who would be working on Wednesday, were counted.

Census takers visited homes and apartments one by one in person on Wednesday to fill out a census booklet consisting of about 10 pages of questions. Census takes filled out the form in pencil and placed an adhesive sticker on the door of each home visited.

Although citizens were instructed to remain at their primary place of residence to be counted, many people traveled to their home towns amid discussion that funds dispersed by the central government to each of Bolivia's nine states are calculated based on population.

Above photo: A tall statue of Jesus Christ stands silently in the center of what is normally the busiest intersection of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia's largest city.

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