It was to be the largest census in over a decade. The “Census 2022”, a survey of over 30 million citizens, should help to carry out a kind of inventory of Germany. However, the federal states are now reporting major problems.

The “Census 2022” started in Germany two months ago. Since then, around 100,000 interviewers have been deployed nationwide. The goal: A large inventory of Germany. The interviewers talk to over 30 million Germans about how they work, how they live and where there may be a lack of roads, daycare centers or subsidized housing.

However, the large-scale survey, which last took place in 2011, could now fail.

Because in the cities and districts there are considerable concerns as to whether the current census 2022 can be successfully completed. “We are currently receiving a large number of problem reports from various federal states from the local survey offices for the implementation of the 2022 census,” says a joint letter that the German Association of Cities and Districts sent to the State Secretary for the Interior, Markus Richter, who is responsible for digitization. The nationwide collection of data on the population, living space, rents, heating, education and employment began on May 15 and is expected to last three months.

The main problem is the software specially developed for the census, which despite corresponding offers from the municipalities “has not been sufficiently and reliably tested”, according to the letter, which was first reported by the news portal “The Pioneer”.

The software now shows “considerable performance problems” in practical use. The difficulties with the program led to delays in data collection. In addition, there are program breaks in the data collection by the survey agencies.

The central municipal associations fear that these massive disruptions will “call into question the chronological order and completion of the 2022 census”. In the letter, you also express concern “that the result of the census will also be affected and distorted”.

The publication of all statistics generated from the census for the federal and state governments is actually planned for November 2023. The data is relevant for the municipalities, among other things, because the number of inhabitants plays a role in the distribution of funds from municipal financial equalization.

A falsified result would be annoying insofar as the survey has already progressed very far in the past two months. On July 15, two months after the deadline, 20.3 million questionnaires had already been completed.