Definition: Rolling census
A rolling census represents an alternative approach to the traditional model of census taking by means of a cumulative continuous survey, covering the whole country over a period of time, rather than on a particular day. There are two main parameters in a rolling census:
a) The length of the period of time which is linked to the frequency of update required; and
b) The sample rate: which depends on the budget and the geographical levels required for dissemination (country, regions, towns, local areas, etc).
For example, it is possible to build a sample framework in order to produce national results with an annual survey; regional results by cumulating three annual surveys and small areas results by cumulating five years’ data. An annual survey may be conducted over the year or in a particular month.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) (in cooperation with Eurostat), "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", New York and Geneva, 2006