Solomon Island Population has increased by 26%

MINISTER of Finance and Treasury Rick Houenipwela this week launched the final 2009 census analysis reports. 

The reports, according to Mr Houenipwela, will help guide Governments in the coming years in crafting plans and policies for the country. 

The 2009 census determined that the total population was 515,870. This compares with 409,042 people in 1999, and represents an increase of 26.3 percent or 106,828 people. 

This population increase represents an average annual growth rate of 2.3 percent, or an increase of 10,661 people per year. 

The reports found that the urban population stands at 102,030 people (19.8 percent of the total population), and includes the entire population of the Honiara town council (64,609) as well as the Guadalcanal wards of Tandai and Malango as well as the settlements/towns of Gizo, Noro, Munda, Nusa Roviana, Auki, Batava/Taro, Buala, Tulagi, Kirakira/Bauro Central, and Lata/Luva Station. 

The national average annual urban growth between 1999 and 2009 was 4.7 percent, though the data showed very different urban growth rates of the different urban areas: while the growth rate of Honiara urban area was with only 2.7 percent less than the national urban growth rate, the growth of the other provincial urban areas was higher. 

Of particular interest is the high growth rate of the Honiara urban surrounding, namely the two wards in Guadalcanal of Tandai and Malango with 16.4 percent annually. Other high urban growth areas are Auki in Malaita with 11.6 percent, and Lata/Luva Station in Temotu with 17 percent per annum. 

This means that the process of urbanisation is increasing and at the same time is tending towards a balance across the country. 

The emergence of new urban areas like Munda, Nusa Roviana, and Malango, and the expanding urbanised areas around Honiara on Guadalcanal account for this development. 

The average population density for Solomon Islands was 17 people/km². 

Although the population density was low across all provinces, it was with 2,953 people/km² considerable higher in Honiara. 

The census counted 91,251 private households with 504,985 household members, which means that there were 5.5 people per household on average. 

Solomon Islands has a young population with a median age of 19.8 years. About 41 percent of the population was younger than 15 years of age, and only 5 percent were 60 years and older.

The age dependency ratio was calculated using the 15–59 year-old age group as the “working age population”.

For every 100 people of working age, 85 were in the age dependent category. 

The number of births was estimated at 18,858 in 2009. This accounts for a crude birth rate (CBR) of 36.4 per 1000. 

The total fertility rate (TFR) — the average number of births per woman — declined from about 5.0 in 1999 to about 4.7 in 2009. 

Based on census data for the number of children ever born and still alive, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was estimated at 22; 24 for males and 20 for females. 

This estimate is lower than the 1999 levels when the IMR was 29 and 26 for males and females – and is thus an improvement in infant mortality rates. 

Based on the 2009 census data, life expectancies at birth were estimated to be 66.2 for males and 73.1 years for females. That compared to 1999, it was 67.0 and 70.2 years for males and females respectively. 

This represents a slight decrease of male life expectancy. 

Based on the derived life tables, a crude death rate (CDR) of 5.5 per 1,000 was calculated, which were approximately 2,800 deaths in 2009. 

The maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 143. 

The estimated mortality indicators show more positive mortality indicators for females than for males, with females expected to live, on average, about 6.9 years longer than males. 

Net international migration is estimated be negligible during the intercensal period 1999–2009. 

The reports also indicated that women marry at a younger age than men. The average age at marriage was 27.1 and 23.3 years for males and females, respectively. 

The Church of Melanesia is with 32 percent of the total population, the most dominant in Solomon Islands. 

The Roman Catholic Church is the second largest, with 20 percent, followed by the South Sea Evangelical Church (17 percent), the Seventh Day Adventists with a share of 12 percent, and the United Church (10 percent). (More news on these reports will be published).

Solomon Star
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