1 January 2013

Tanzania: National Population Hits 45 Million

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
President Jakaya Kikwete calls on the nation to check population increase.

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete announced the 2012 Population and Housing Census preliminary results showed that the population has reached 44,929,002 in total.

He said that the number of Mainlanders is 43,625,434 while that of Zanzibaris stands at 1,303,560. The last Population and Housing Census conducted in 2002 showed that the population was 34,443,603. President Kikwete noted that in the last ten years the population has increased by 10.5 million people.

He explained that at the rate at which the population is growing, by 2016 the population will stand at 51 million people. This will be a huge burden to the economy. "At the rate at which the population is growing, by 2016 the population will be 51 million people.

This will be a huge burden to the nation, society and the country's economy. It will be quite difficult to cater for such a big population," he said. He noted that for the next four years the government has to come up with strategies on how the country's economy will cater for a population of 51 million people.

"This shows that people need to work extra hard. However, it is imperative that families start acknowledging the importance of family planning, otherwise standards of living will go down if we let the population to grow at this rate," he said.

He noted that as the government plans to handle such a big population in 2016, the society should also plan to take seriously the issue of family planning and plan on proper spacing between births and the number of children. The president noted that this is the fifth population and housing census since Independence.

The first one was held in 1967 showing the population at 12,313,054, with the Mainland figure at 11,958,654 and Zanzibar at 354,400. "Today, 45 years later the population has increased by 33 million people and compared to 2002, the population has increased by 34.4 million people," he said.

The president noted that conducting a population and housing census is a huge but important and expensive undertaking. He added that out of the estimated total cost of 140bn/-, the government has already spent 124bn/-.

He noted that there will be more statistical result announcements in future, starting with February next year, when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) will issue the results on the number of men and women, and in April the analysis of the census according to districts will come out and more analyses will be given in June.

"After June next year, the national statistics institutions both in Mainland and Zanzibar will start preparations for the 2022 census," he explained. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, who was also the Chairman of the National Committee for Census, said that 90 per cent of the costs for the Census was covered by government, while development partners covered the remaining 10 per cent.

Mr Pinda noted that the exercise provided short time employment to more than 200,000 locals including youths. The government spent more than 90bn/- on this aspect.

The Second Vice-President in Zanzibar, Ambassador Seif Ali Idd, urged the public and other stakeholders to make use of the statistics in planning for development, noting that it will only bring meaning if the statistics are used for development planning.

The United Nations Representative, Ms Marian Khan, commended the government for releasing the 2012 Census results on time, adding that they are crucial for development planning and especially in light of the approaching Millennium Development Goals deadline.

"This is an opportunity for the government to adjust its development programmes where it is lagging behind so that the goals can be met sooner than later," she explained.

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