On May 22, 1966, the eve of the first Tunisian census since independence, President Habib Bourguiba expressed as follows the objectives and uses of this census:
The methodical efforts we are making, within the framework of the Plan, to raise the standard of living of citizens are of necessity based on statistical data concerning the size and distribution of the population, its activities and its manner of life.…The census does not consist solely in just counting our population. Its purpose is to collect all sorts of information likely to help us draw our plans for economic and social development judiciously.
The need for population data has undoubtedly provided an impetus for the collection of such data as well as for demographic research not only in Tunisia but also in other Middle Eastern countries. In recent years, an added impetus for demographic research has been the realization that, in some of these countries, population growth may be threatening social and economic development.