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STATEMENT BY THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER

 

DR B.SIBUSISO DLAMINI

Read by the Hon Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini

 

AT THE LAUNCH OF 2017 POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS PRELIMINARY REPORT

 

AT THE MOUNTAIN INN, MBABANE

 

THURSDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Programme Director

Honourable Ministers

UN Representatives

Distinguished Guests

The Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all to the official launch of the 2017 Population and Housing Census Preliminary Report. I regret that, owing to other commitments, I am unable to welcome you in person but the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini has agreed to read my statement to you.

The Census was completed successfully in May 2017.  It is the seventh comprehensive, scientifically-based census in a continual series over the past 60 years, the first one having been conducted in the year 1956. A census of this nature has since been conducted without interruption every ten years.

The ultimate goal of this national undertaking is to enhance the quality and security of life of the people of Swaziland through the provision of reliable and timely data.  As can be appreciated, such data is essential for good governance, development planning, policy formulation, service delivery and for the monitoring and evaluation of development plans and programmes.

Among other objectives, the 2017 Population and Housing Census is expected to provide valuable socio-economic data for monitoring progress and achievement in Vision 2022, the National Development Strategy, and a host of other sectoral development frameworks, including the provision of data for the Swaziland Development Index (SDI) and Agenda 2030, the United Nations-inspired Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2017 Census was the first census in Swaziland in which mobile technology was used for the collection of information. The answers to the Census Questionnaires were directly recorded on tablets. This revolutionary change significantly improved efficiency in the monitoring and evaluation of daily progress, and the overall conduct of the Census, as well as enabling follow-up with the field staff.

I would like to express our deepest gratitude to Statistics South Africa for lending us the 3 000 tablets that were used in the data collection.  This was at no cost to Swaziland and a highly generous expression of South-South cooperation. I would like to also thank MTN Swaziland for providing the connectivity for the data collection, thus ensuring that all went smoothly during the process of data collection.

As in 2007, the de-jure census methodology was used in the 2017 Census.  This enumerates everyone in their place of regular or legal residence, and not in their place of work during the day. Everyone, whether young or old, and irrespective of citizenship, race, religion or any other criterion, was counted in the Census. The Census enumerators visited each and every household in the Kingdom during the period 29 April and 15 May 2017.  It was an intensive exercise and one in which people cooperated fully, willingly providing answers to the Census Questions.

The Census Questionnaire for the first time included questions on subjects such as religion, epilepsy, and albinism. Information on access to additional housing amenities such as kitchen, bathroom, and method of garbage disposal were also collected in 2017 Census.

A total of 272,824 households were enumerated in the 2017 Census.  Housed within those households at midnight on 12 March 2017 was a total de jure resident population of 1,093,238 individuals. This figure was made up of 531,111 males and 562,127 females. That effectively meant an increase of 74,789 persons being registered in the ten year period 2007 to 2017, of whom 49,683 were males and 25,106 were females. It represented a 0.7 % increase in those ten years, compared with a 0.9% increase in the previous ten year period 1997-2007.

The increase in the size of our population is primarily due to three demographic factors, namely fertility, mortality and migration rates. An in-depth analysis of the Census data will, in due course, be undertaken to produce a precise identification and analysis of the causes of the population increase confirmed by the 2017 census.

In terms of regional distribution of population, the Manzini Region continues to occupy first position in population size, having recorded 355,945 population, closely followed by the Hhohho Region, with a population of 320,651. Shiselweni occupied third position in 2007 but has slipped down to fourth position in 2017 with 204,111 population after Lubombo with a recorded total population of 212,531.  That makes the grand total of 1,093,238.

In terms of the ratio of males to females in our population, the 1904 Census – no doubt a more rough-and-ready census than in 2017 – the ratio was 78 males per 100 females.  This was followed by a steady narrowing of the gap in subsequent censuses.  It is encouraging to note that in the present 2017 Census the ratio is now 94 males per 100 females, the highest recorded since 1904.   Between 2007 and 2017 the ratio increased from 90 to 94 males per 100 females.  It is not unrealistic to expect the numbers to be at par in the coming decades. This is definitely a healthy demographic change taking place in the country.

A further insight into population distribution comes from an age analysis.  At the national level the overall percentage of population in the age-group 0-14 years has declined from 39.5% in 2007 to 35.6% in 2017.  This is a fall of 3.9%.  On the  other hand, the numbers in the age group 15-64 years have increased from 56.8 percent in 2007 to 59.9 percent in 2017, revealing an increase of 3.1%. This trend shows an increase in the working age-group of our population, and indicates an opportune time for the country to take advantage of this demographic dividend.

In the over 65 years age group the 2017 Census shows an increase from 3.7% of the population in 2007, to 4.5% in 2017. Although this does not reflect a big variation from the previous census it does indicate improved socio-economic conditions for our people, giving rise to longer lives.

You may, by now, be feeling slightly numbed by numbers as a result of the long list of statistics that I have read out.  Well, that is the nature of a census of this type, but I hope that it has given us all an initial understanding of some key statistics relating to our people and our country.  Everyone is now reliably informed that at the present, though not for ever, we are a population of 1.1 million.  It is good to be able to reliably run a population figure out when required.

 

We commend the Central Statistics Office for its hard work, and thank our people across the country for the keen interest and degree of participation in the process.  We also applaud and thank our partners, UNFPA, for providing both technical and financial support in all stages of this exercise. Our gratitude also goes to UNICEF, UNDP, WHO and WFP who also provided financial support.

It is now my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to launch the preliminary report on the 2017 Population and Housing Census.

Thank You

 

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