Alaq said, however, that the estimates are no substitute for a census. He said, "A general population census provides detailed information on the populace, including information on education, health, immigration, housing and the environmental conditions surrounding residences."
Ministry of Planning spokesman Abdul Zahra al-Hindaw said, "The delay in carrying out a census has resulted in significant losses for Iraq."
A number of concerned parties have repeated their calls for a census, including the United Nations and its mission in Iraq (UNAMI). They claim that results of a census are a necessary key for the country’s social development, and will also help resolve some of the current disputes between political forces.
The population increase has put Iraq in a difficult position in light of the worsening housing crisis.
Hindawi said that estimates from the Ministry of Planning indicate that the country is in need of 2 million residential units to overcome the housing crisis.
Wahda al-Jumaili, a member of the Iraqi parliament's Services and Reconstruction Committee, said, "The worsening housing crisis in Iraq is linked to the absence of clear economic policies on the part of the federal and local governments in light of population growth."
He said, "The growing demand for residential units in Iraq has created a real housing crisis, in light of increasing population growth and the increased purchasing power of the Iraqi people."
Jumaili said, "Iraq needs to build 2 million housing units, although the Ministry of Construction and Housing has only been able to build 300,000 units as a result of a lack of financial allocations and suitable land."
Omar al-Shaher is a contributor to Al-Monitor’s Iraq Pulse. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications including France’s LeMonde, the Iraqi Alesbuyia magazine, Egypt’s Al-Ahaly and the Elaph website. He previously worked for Al-Mada covering political and security affairs and as a correspondent for the Kuwaiti Awan newspaper in Baghdad.
(Picture: Bismaya Housing Project)