The New Times (Kigali)

29 November 2012

Rwanda: Census Puts Rwanda's Population At 10.5 Million

Rwanda's population has grown to 10,537, 222, up from 8,128, 553 in 2002, which projects a 29.6 per cent rise, Finance and Economic Planning minister John Rwangombwa announced yesterday.

Releasing preliminary results of the fourth Population and Housing Census, conducted in August, the minister said annual population growth rate stood at 2.6 per cent, down from 2.9 per cent ten years ago.

"This implies that our population control mechanisms are paying off," he told a news conference at the ministry's headquarters in Kigali.

Women constitute 51.8 per cent of the total population, down from approximately 53 per cent ten years ago.

However, in Kigali, men outnumber women, with a ratio of 104 men per 100 women.

According to provisional results, the Eastern Province is the most populous region, with over 2,600,814 people, while the City of Kigali has the least population with 1,135,428 people.

Eastern Province also has the highest population growth rate with 4.3 per cent, while the Northern Province recorded the least population growth rate, at 1.0 per cent, and a population of 1,729,927.

Kigali population grows at an average of 4.0 per cent per year, according to provisional figures.

Southern Province is the second most populous region with 2,594,110 people, with an average annual population growth of 2.3 per cent while Western Province recorded 2,476,943 people and a growth rate of 1.9 per cent.

At the district level, Gasabo registered the highest number of inhabitants with 530,907, followed by Nyagatare with 446,944 people. Nyarugenge District is the least populated with 284,860, followed by Rulindo with 288,452 inhabitants.

Minister Rwangombwa attributed the high population growth rate in the Eastern Province to the increased migration of people to the region from other provinces in search of fertile soils.

"In addition, the Eastern Province has witnessed impressive economic progress over the past few years, and that has come with increased opportunities which have attracted people," Rwangombwa explained.

Countrywide, population density grew from 321 people per square kilometre in 2002 to 416 in 2012, the highest in Africa.

That makes Rwanda the second most densely populated country in the world, after South Korea, which has about 490 people per square kilometre.

On the African continent, Burundi is the second most densely populated country with 379 people per square kilometre.

According to the Census figures, Kigali is the most densely populated region with 1,556 people per square kilometre, while the Eastern Province has the least number of people living on a square kilometre with 275 people.

The Census put the average household size at 4.37, reflecting a drop in the fertility rate, from 5.5 to 4.6 children per woman by 2010, according to the fourth Demographic Household Survey.

Analysts say the census provisional results send out a positive signal about the country's economic prospects with expectations of a higher GDP per capita if the trend continues.

Rwangombwa says free movement of people from areas of relative scarcity to those with more resources augured well with the country's poverty alleviation and economic development strategies.

He added that the latest figures were crucial in the national planning processes.

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