The preliminary findings of the 2010 Population and Housing Census, released last week by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), have put the population of Belize at 312,971, officially updating the country’s population count from the 2009 population estimate of 333,200.
(Population estimates are mathematical calculations which give a ballpark figure of how many people may be living in the country, whereas censuses take an actual on-the-ground count; therefore, the numbers differ.)
Belize’s population in 1970 was reported at 119,645; in 1980 it was reported at 145,353; in 1991 it was reported at 189,392; in 2000 it was reported at 240,204 people.
According to the recently released data, 171,827 or 55% of the population is rural, compared to 47% in 2000; and the male to female ratio is reported at 102 males to 100 females, the SIB points out.
Of note is that the census, conducted in May 2010, also revealed that the most populous part of the country is Southside Belize City, with a reported population now of 37,416, versus a reported Northside population of 16,116.
SIB also reports that San Pedro grew the most of all urban centers since the last census in 2000. Over the decade, the population grew 2.5 times, from 4,499 ten years ago to 11,510 today.
In 1980, the San Pedro population was reported at only 1,125, indicating that its size has increased approximately 10-fold since Independence.
The SIB also reports that the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena, and the municipality of Belmopan, have overtaken Orange Walk Town as the second largest municipality. Orange Walk was listed as the second largest municipality in the last census, but by the new estimate, the population is 83 persons smaller than ten years ago. However, the rural population has grown significantly.
The population of the nation’s capital, Belmopan, has grown nearly 70% since the last census.
Punta Gorda is still the smallest municipality, with a reported population of 5,205. Roughly 80% of Toledo’s population is rural, the highest percentage in the country.
The census results indicate that the average household size has dropped from 4.5 to 3.9.
The data also reveal that 118 people are reported as homeless, while 1,957 are living in formal institutions—over 80% of them males.
The official release of the 2010 Population and Housing Census is slated to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, April 29, 2011, at the Jaguar Auditorium, University of Belize in Belmopan. Amandala