By Jameson Chauluka:
Malawi’s population has risen from 13,029,498 in 2008 to 17,563,749 in 2018, representing a 35 percent increase, according to 2018 Population and Housing Census (PHC) preliminary results which National Statistical Office (NSO) announced Thursday.
This implies that the growth rate between censuses has risen to 2.9 percent between 2008 and 2018 compared to 2.8 percent between 1998 and 2008.
Presenting the preliminary results in Zomba yesterday, Commissioner of Statistics, Mercy Kanyuka, said females constitute 51 percent of the population while 49 percent are males.
Kanyuka said the Southern Region is the most populous with 7,750,629, seconded by the Central Region at 7,526,160 while the Northern Region is the least populated with 2, 286, 960.
The statistics further indicate that Lilongwe
Rural is the highest populated district with 1,637,583 people, followed by Mangochi’s population of 1,148,611 people while Likoma is the least populated with 14,527.
The statistics further show that 14,780,385 people or 84 percent of the entire population, live in rural areas and 16 percent are in urban areas.
Kanyuka said finer details of the exercise would be released soon through thematic reports breaking down every component of what she termed rich statistics.
“We will further be analysing the data and come up with 20 or more thematic reports, say, on religion, fertility, literacy, education and others,” she said.
PHCs also produce results for other areas including religions and tribes.
Meanwhile, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said the latest population statistics should raise concerns about the country’s resources.
“When we have rapid population growth, there are many people that need essential services like health, education, social protection and more. We have to ask whether we will have enough resources to provide essential services to everybody,” UNFPA Malawi Representative, Young Hong, said at the same function Thursday.
She said the fact that 51 percent of the population are the youth should allow stakeholders to critically think about where decent jobs will come from.
“Are we on the right track? Are we going to meet the needs of that population? We need to really investigate further and see where we stand,” Hong said.
She has since called on the government to put in place significant efforts to increase services such as sexual and reproductive health and relevant information.
NSO conducted the latest PHC in September 2018 after the 2008 exercise which showed that the population had risen by 32 percent from the previous exercise.
The Southern Region has retained its position of having the highest population, followed by the Central Region and the North.
For the first time, last year’s census was conducted using electronic tablets.
Stakeholders, including Malawi Electoral Commission and National Planning Commission, will benefit from the comprehensive results of the 2018 PHC in implementing activities.