Maputo — The number of people living in Mozambique's most populous province, Nampula, has now reached almost four million, according to the detailed data from the 2007 census .
The census was held in August 2007, and preliminary results were issued in November of that year. Throughout 2009, the National Statistics Institute (INE) has been issuing the definitive census results, province by province. The Nampula figures are the last to be made public.
The Nampula population rose from 2,875,474 at the time of the previous census, in 1997, to 3,985,285 in 2007. This is an increase of almost 34 per cent - or an average of 3.4 per cent a year.
This is considerably higher than the national population growth rate, estimated by the National Statistics Institute (INE) at 2.3 per cent a year. It is also more than double the growth rate in the neighbouring province of Zambezia, the second largest of the 11 provinces.
Between the two censuses the Zambezia population grew by 14.1 per cent (or 1.4 per cent a year). The sharp difference between the two provinces suggests substantial migration from Zambezia into Nampula (as well as into Tete province, and perhaps over the border into Malawi).
The provincial capital, Nampula city, has grown by over 50 per cent. It had a population of slightly more than 300,000 in 1997, but by 2007 this had swollen to 471,717.
Like the rest of the country, Nampula has a very young population. 47.9 per cent are under 15 years old, 49.5 per cent are aged between 15 and 64, and only 2.7 per cent are aged 65 and above.
Illiteracy remains extremely high in the province, at 62.3 per cent of all people aged 15 and above. Nonetheless, this is considerably better than the 1997 figure of 71.4 per cent. There is a sharp gender division in the illiteracy rates - while only 46.5 per cent of Nampula men cannot read or write, the figure rises to 77.4 per cent among women.
The national illiteracy rate is 50.4 per cent (34.6 per cent for men, and 64.2 per cent for women).
The majority of Nampula children are not at school. The census found that 50.8 per cent of all children aged between 5 and 17 (47.9 per cent of the boys and 53.7 per cent of the girls) were not attending school.
The gross birth rate in Nampula has fallen from 45.1 to 41.4 per thousand inhabitants between 1997 and 2007. Doubtless this is caused by a slight drop in the fertility rate. In 1997, the average Nampula woman bore 6.3 children. A decade later that figure was down to 5.8 (which is also the national average).
Life expectancy at birth in the province is 52.9 years - rather higher than the national life expectancy of 49.4 years. The main cause of death is malaria. This disease accounts for 30.6 per cent of Nampula deaths. HIV/AIDS ranks second, causing 20.7 per cent of deaths.
Nampula is an overwhelmingly agricultural province, and it is no surprise that 83.4 per cent of the economically active population work in the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining). Only four per cent work in manufacturing and construction, while the remaining 12.6 per cent work in trade, transport, banking and other services.
The great majority of the Nampula population have neither electricity nor running water in their homes. The number of homes with electricity rose from 3.8 per cent to six per cent between the two censuses. Over the same period, the rise in the number of homes with piped water (inside or outside the house) was much smaller - from 6.6 to just 6.8 per cent.
Nationally, ten per cent of houses have electricity and 10.1 per cent have running water.
Most Nampula houses (59.9 per cent) rely on kerosene or paraffin lamps for illumination, but the poorest 32.1 per cent rely on wood fuel for all their energy needs, including lighting.
Only 24 per cent of the province's population draw their water from a safe source - piped water at the house or from a public standpipe, or protected wells and boreholes. 55.7 per cent use traditional wells that do not even have a hand pump, while 19.8 per cent take their water straight from rivers or lakes.
As for consumer goods, only 46.4 per cent of Nampula households own a radio set, and 35.2 per cent own a bicycle. Just four per cent have televisions, 2.4 per cent own motorbikes, 0.6 per cent have a car, and a mere 0.3 per cent own a computer. 41 per cent of Nampula households are so poor that they have none of these durable possessions at all.
This is rather worse than in Zambezia, where 38.2 per cent of households had no consumer durables, and 47.9 per cent owned bicycles.