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Apr 29, 2011

Census reveals population grew over 312,000

Exactly how many men, women and children are living in Belize? And is there a particular ethnic group that occupies most of the country? Which religion dominates? It’s not just a simple numbers game, as any majority group can guide public policy and sway political might over the country.  The answers of these questions can be inferred from the analysis of the Statistical Institute of Belize’s Population and Housing Census.  The data shows that Hispanics now account for fifty one percent of the country and when it comes to religion, a growing number of the population is not affiliated with a particular theological brand. News Five Isani Cayetano attended the S.I.B.’s number crunching ceremony where the population growth was revealed.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The head count of every Belizean man, woman and child is a decennial exercise conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize primarily to determine the population growth of the nation within a decade.  The data collected during the survey provides a demographic outlook of the country and its people.  It is also a measure of society’s progress.  A year ago the S.I.B. launched its 2010 Population & Housing Census and today released its findings to the public.  At the helm of the project is Glenn Avilez.

Glenn Avilez

Glenn Avilez, Director General, S.I.B.

“We did a census in 2010 and that covered the entire country and it showed that the population of Belize has increased by about seventy-three thousand persons.  That doesn’t take into account the undercount for which we will be making an adjustment for.  So, in 2000 we had about two hundred and forty thousand persons and in 2010 that figure has increased to three hundred and thirteen thousand persons.”

While the aggregate number of residents in the Jewel can be argued, in light of the fact that significant projections had been made prior to the recent census, it is considerably lower than the initial figure of approximately three hundred and fifty thousand people.

Glenn Avilez

“In between censuses we will have to make projections based on information that we have.  The strength or the quality of these projections are only based on the quality of information that we had and we had overestimated the growth rate, the annual growth rate and so the actual census showed that the population did not grow as fast as we had expected it to.  So that is the reason for the difference of the figures that you are seeing from the actual count versus the estimates that were made.”

In Belize City the population has grown by twenty-three percent over the last ten years.  In 2000 the Old Capital had a total of a hundred and twelve thousand, six hundred and sixty-three residents.  A decade later that figure now stands at a hundred and thirty-eight thousand, seven hundred and ninety-six.  Needless to say it is directly impacted by both birth and mortality rates.

Isani Cayetano

“Comprehensively speaking, what do the findings say about the population of Belize in terms of specific demography?”

Glenn Avilez

“Okay, in terms of male sex distribution not much has changed.  In terms of ethnicity we have, yes, a larger Hispanic population but in terms of percentage it has only gone up by a percentage point.  In 2000 we had almost forty-nine percent Hispanics.  In 2010 we are at fifty percent so you are only talking about a one percentage point.”

Even with considerable growth in key areas there has also been significant reduction elsewhere.  The number of people in an average household has decreased from 4.5 to 3.9 over the years.  Similarly, the once dominant Roman Catholic faith has seen a sharp decline.

Glenn Avilez

“In terms of religion we see that the Roman Catholics have decreased their share of the total population.  Ten years ago they represented about fifty percent or half of the population and now they have only forty percent.  Some of that change is attributed to growth, significant growth in other religions, particularly the Pentecostals and as I mentioned in our presentation we have a group of persons who have declared that they do not belong to any religion.”

In the area of education there has been a noticeable shift in the number of students completing the tertiary level; nonetheless, it is also true that a majority of those graduates are females.

Glenn Avilez

“In terms of education, yes we have more persons being educated at a higher level; however, we are seeing that males dominate up to primary [level].  After primary [level] the females are doing a lot better and in fact at the university level it is almost twice as many females as there are males.”

Despite the release of the findings today concerns have been raised about the accuracy of the statistics as a number of individuals have randomly expressed that they were not consulted during the actual census; on the other hand, the Statistical Institute maintains that the exercise was performed thoroughly. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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35 Responses for “Census reveals population grew over 312,000”

  1. I Have Awaken says:

    It was always said that Guatemala wouldn’t have to invade us militarily to take us over, they would simply come her one by one; it seems, ironically, that is now fact. They now hold the voting power en Belice.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Now, we have to figure out ways to keep more of our boys in school.

  3. a Catholic says:

    These Belizeans that arent religious are no good.I was reading the story from the census and The only person they had was god, and for them to stop believing, they are Done! God was the only one saving their sorry @$$!

  4. risu says:

    It is rather embarrassing when the head of SIB can not define Mestizo. If you can not define it, how do you know what it is? These guys are a joke. They should have hired an anthropologist to come up with an official list of ethnicities. The way they came up with that list was by way of a survey about a decade ago where they stopped people on the street and asked them what ethnicity they were. Then they picked the most frequent ones. That is no scientific way of doing this. It is very embarrassing.

  5. Gustav says:

    I Have Awaken is right. by having an “open border” policy — which means “NO BORDER” — both UDP and PUP have permitted a takeover of the country from the West, and there is no sign that they will close the border in my lifetime.

    No longer “Welcome to Belize.” Better say, “Welcome to Guatemala, goodbye Belize.”

    PUP and UDP have led us to national suicide.

  6. Earl Grey says:

    Don’t forget that…………………………………………. A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE MISSED…….at least 20,000.

  7. solo says:

    how come something so urgently and critically important was aired on a friday just before a long weekend not allowing the newspaper media to have a good crack at it, and a long weekend at that, hey
    gob we no stupid out here we know you know about this long time the news media needs to make more people aware of the critical importance of this !!!!!

  8. Hope says:

    1. Increased in foreigners(Guatemalans and Salvadorians) may be the cause of the increase in crime rate in Belize . It’s a pity that Belizean Government do not control the flow of immigrants. The US Government have deported a lots of criminals back to central America especially to the country of San Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala. Some of these same criminals can be crossing the border and doing the crimes. Belize is a small country and they should finger print these foreigners and the criminals so that when a crime is committed they can solve the crime quicker. What happen to the school? Aren’t they teach the children the ten commandments! A society that doesn’t have the faith and hope in God is doom for destruction. When disasters occur in World like Haiti and Japan…We wonder if Our God is angry with His people when they astray from him.

  9. Hope says:

    Increased in foreigners(Guatemalans and Salvadorians) may be the cause of the increase in crime rate in Belize . It’s a pity that Belizean Government do not control the flow of immigrants. The US Government have deported a lots of criminals back to central America especially to the country of San Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala. Some of these same criminals can be crossing the border and doing the crimes. Belize is a small country and they should finger print these foreigners and the criminals so that when a crime is committed they can solve the crime quicker. What happen to the school? Aren’t they teaching the children the ten commandments! A society that doesn’t have the faith and hope in God is doom for destruction. When disasters occur in World like Haiti and Japan…We wonder if Our God is angry with His people when they astray from him.

  10. NED says:

    The USA became great because of their immigration, maybe we can do the same. Lets not look at this in only the negative sense.

  11. CEO says:

    All you media people; the learned ones of our country, by definition anyone from Central or South America is Hispanic regardless of our Race!

    The term Hispanic is a cultural definition not a racial definition. The term does not describe a single people but rather all peoples from a certain region of the world.

    You need to break down your so call “HISPANICS” in Belize in other subgroups that are more specific to Belize if you want to be more precise. All the people from Mayan decent have varying cultures. Compare the Mestisos from Corozal to the Ketchi in PG. Language and way of life is different.

  12. risu says:

    @solo That is a common tactic used by this and the previous administration. They hope that the long weekend will make Belizeans forget and they won’t have to go on the defensive. It is up to the media to not forget and come with some hard questions:

    Who the hell determines what is rural & urban? Isn’t it time for Ladyville to become a town? What is the authority that makes these decisions? Hell, if the population of Ladyville grows higher than that of Belize City or Belmopan City, will they still classify it is a village? Some common sense is needed man.

  13. sofia says:

    Not all our mestizos are from guatemala or originate from guatemala… Mestizos have been in belize for quite a while and born belizean root mestizos.. Corozal, Orange-Walk, Cayo with all its towns and villages, Caye Caulker and San Pedro are all mestizo root belizeans.. It has been like this for a while.. Why the surprise now, i do not know. Probably because of seeing Belize City as the country of belize for sooo long, startiing with media, propaganda, advertisement etc…

  14. dot says:

    USA is a very big nation with plenty of resources so they can afford to accept immigrants, but they have deported lately a lot of immigrants criminals . Hispanics, Latinos and Mestizo identifies as the same group…Spanish speaking individuals. On the world news, you hear about the corrupted government of Mexico and the kidnapping of citizen, the same goes for Guatemalan and El Salvador has lots of gang and violence. The Belizean Hispanics accent are different than the Guatemalan, Mexican and El Salvadoran, or Cubans. You can know if they are Belizean or they are immigrants …by Spanish accent. In Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and San Pedro and Caye Cauker and even in Belize City, there have always been mestizo or Hispanics. We would identify these group of Spanish speaking individuals mestizo, but in Mexico and Guatemalan, they will identify themselves as Hispanics or Latinos. The unemployment rate is 23 percent high or maybe higher…too much immigrants(chinese, Indians, Haiti, cuban etc.) is not good for a small country like Belize…that’s my opinion…your opinion maybe different.

  15. Nolbert Moss says:

    GLenn, when you report about religion, you should try to be as accurate as possible. The religions of mankind include Christianity, Judaism, Islaam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Within Christainity, the sects are Roman Catholism, Pentecostals, Jehovah Witnesses, Methodist, Baptist, Anglican etc. These are NOT religions as they all claim Jesus the son of Mary as the central figure through whom they seek Gods pleasure and earn God’s grace. The Muslims have two sects: The Sunnis and the Shia who claim all messengers of God as theirs with Muhammad as the final messenger. There are Muslims in Belize. The religion of the Chinese is Buddhism so why is this not mentioned? Maybe you didn’t know. Maybe you chose to exclude them because of their small number of adherents relative to he other Christian sects. Whatever the case, this input should serve to inform the readership of the reality when it comes to religions in Belize.

  16. Somewhere in time says:

    SIB is a joke. They did not put the professionalism needed into this work, and it has been this way since Independence. The variables for religion are wrong. Catholicism is not a religion, Christianism is. If he wanted to survey the sects within the religion, then that is a different matter. Similarly, the ethnic groups are messed up. Hisanic/Latino is not an ethnic group nor race. It is used to refer to someone who comes from a Spanish speaking country. Mestizo is the proper name. They should have hired an anthropologist for this. Similarly, the marital status are terribly skewed. A marital status is a LEGAL STATUS. If it is not defined by law, then it is not a marital status. They are confusing relationships with marital status. And finally, the villages and towns. Will Ladyville remain forever a village? It is a joke that it is still considered one. Maybe they should have defined the terms village and town.

  17. shabba says:

    These census numbers are funny if not hilarious. Belize have way more people than this. Plus if you check they claim that the population of Belize City is less than year 2000. Census is completely useless. what a waste of money.

  18. No matter says:

    Hope and most of previous commentators you need to do research, the most violent areas are not mestizos these are creoles (south side belize city etc) plus the areas where most of government funds are wasted are in black people areas but soon and with ever increasing and now that we are a majority, funds will be used more efficiently and not wasted. I you are ignorant as to how the questionnaire is formulated and how SIB comes up with the diffrent categories please don’t comment. The term Mestizo is self explanatory is everybody who has a percentage of spanish blood it doesn,t if it is already mixed with maya, creole garifuna, mennonite etc.

  19. D-Power says:

    Black people… keep killing each other and see how much Blacks will be there to count in forty years. You have learnt well from your masters. Taking Blacks from Alkebulan was tragic, taking away their language…more tragic…but the greatest tragedy making them lose their minds. Whenever your mind is controlled and programmed by forces your are not even aware of…you are doomed as a nation.

  20. Somewhere in time says:

    I know how SIB comes up with those categories because I have had professional discussions with the gentlemen from SIB about this same topic for endless hours. For ethnicity, they did a silly survey. They stood in the streets and asked people what they THINK they are and then based on the most frequent answers they developed their list. This is a joke. It is no way of determining the ethnic groups of a nation.

  21. rebel says:

    For crying out loud…why is the information not available to Belizeans for them to scrutinize the information. First it takes them six months over the planned period for them to “purge” the data, now we have to wait even more for it to be made public? Dat noh sound right! Anyone see the Bze Times headline last week….Perdomo cheap sale permanent residency for Chinese. Soon they will take over Belize. Someone save us from Dean Barrow, please!

  22. Elgin Martinez says:

    How has the population increased when the mortality rate is higher than the birth rate?

  23. spotfire says:

    @shabba: SIB claim the 2000 Belize City population was 45,584. For 2010 they report 53,532.
    @Somewhere in time: Marital status is a legal status, and the categories are correct. A second question asks about union status, which may or not have a legal grounding. They are two separate and distinct concepts and should be treated so. They are used throughout the Carribean and indeed the wider world.
    @Earl Grey: 20,000 hey? how do you arrive at such a number? Would be interested to hear? Rather than argue about the number of people missed, the real question should be why there wasn’t a post enumeration survey that would have validated the census results. This could even have been outsourced to a different organisation to retain independance.
    @Nolbert Moss/@Somewhere in time: I agree. The question was correct though – “What is your/N’s religious affiliation/denomination?”. It was just the reporting that was wrong.
    @Somewhere in time: It’s not SIB who dictates urban/rural areas. But they should clearly explain the limitations of these classifications when they present results.
    Overall, the presentations were quite embarrassing, and actually quite dull. Very little in terms of explanation, interesting results were almost hidden. Census presents a great opportunity to discover who and what and why we are Belize. Hope someone does, because SIB certainly won’t. Perhaps they will give out the data… but back in the real world…. we’ll continue to make less of a more than $3 million exercise (note: SIB say this was the budget, but given the extended time, I wonder how much it actually cost!). Whilst we may be the first to give PROVISIONAL results within the 5 Caribbean countries who did census last year, (of which two did their census in June and October) it still took longer to administer and process this year than it did in 2000 – is that progress??

  24. British belizean says:

    To Elgin Martinez – the population has increased, even if, as you state, the mortality rate is higher than the birth rate, because the number of immigrants exceeded the number of emigrants. Duh.

  25. chabelli says:

    Beware Guatemalans are a real potentila force both population wise -and politically

  26. SIB Staff says:

    I like the comments from spotfires whosoever this person may be, he/she surely knows what he/she is talking about. If you were to look at the information more in detail you will see that there are some serious issues with the information they published. Take for instance the Town of Orange Walk the figures from 2000 and 2010 show very little growth(less than 100) in Orange Walk
    which means one of the two figures must be wrong. If they were to claim that the 2000 information was not accurate, why should we think their play play census is when we surely know that areas like Santa Elena/Benque did grow significantly and the figures are just not reflecting it. As this person rightly mentioned, a post enumeration survey should have been conducted.
    Avilez now talks about the projections being wrong because of an overestimation in the annual growth rate. I somehow sense he is trying to say something went wrong along the way, but being as stubborn as he is will not accept that his Census was a complete failure.
    I have all the 2000 census figure should in case someone need it.

  27. SIB Staff says:

    sorry I said Avilez now talks about the projections being wrong, projections cannot be wrong after all that is what they are projections. The Census figures however should reflect actual counted population and we would fool ourselves if we try to think they are accurate. I call on the government therefore to make sure of these figures. Remember our country will be ruled for the next 9 years using these figures. I think the SIB needs restructuring but they have start from the very top, it is rotten and has been giving us rotten figures.

  28. the truth says:

    all that’s said in the above by SIB Staff is so true…but you see that happens when a department head is left to do things on his own without any consultation by the minister in charge of the department… Back when it was CSO and under government, with far less but definately more qualified staff these things never used to occur. But when you start hiring friends who does not hold the proper qualifications or foreigners who have no knowledge of Belize’s demographic what could you expect but chaos… As it stands with the play play census as someone calls it … the best thing that can be done for SIB is to be absolved back into Government…even the current staff who knows how it use to be run when it was CSO can attest to that… SIB is a big joke… when will the minister take some time to investigate instead of just pouring more money down the drain…

  29. Juan says:

    Si el español es el idioma materno de más del 50% de la población, ¿cuando se va a oficializar?. Los que dicen que los hispanoparlantes son criminales, pues yo creo que los anglos son más peligrosos, pero, ambas asevereciones son muy prejuiciosas. El idioma no hace criminal a nadie, y castellano es lo que se habla en centroamérica. Es impensable que con tanta gente hablando en español, este no sea un idioma oficial en este país. ¿son racistas o qué?.

  30. Dante Straulino says:

    Nations are made up of people. Belize was originally part of Spain. It was the British who illegaly colonized Belize, as they did with the Misquito Coast in Nicaragua, the Essequibo in Guyana, or the Falklands/Malvinas Islands in Argentina. But that is past…Let bygones be bygones people.

    Like it or not, Belize will become more Hispanic as time goes by. That is a fact, a reality you will have to learn to live with. But that’s neither good nor bad. In other words, globalization has been around for some years now. Belize has a tremendous asset it has not discovered yet. It is a bilingual country. MAKE THAT OFFICIAL, THEN.

    Belize could very well be the first officiallly and truly bilingual country in the Americas. Not even Canada is truly bilingual. English and Spanish are the most universal languages on planet Earth. Culturally speaking, Belizeans could be steps ahead of some other countries in the region.

    Latinos, Kriols, Garinagu, Maya, etc. So what? If Belize is a melting pot. So, let’s be practical about it. People are people, PERIOD. Belize should be officially a bilingual English-Spanish country.

    By making Belize an officially English-speaking nation only, the Belizean government is making an ENORMOUS mistake. Belize would attract foreign investments from Spanish- and English-speaking nations alike. Wake up to reality. With due respect, Belize was a British colony, so what? It is surrounded by Spanish-`speaking countries. This is the 21st century…For heaven’s sake! Again, be practical about the whole thing.

    Belize should have one foot in the Spanish-speaking world and the other in the English-speaking one. It is time we all should put ignorance aside altogether, right?

  31. Tristán Portocarrero says:

    Porque aunque sea el siglo XXI hay situaciones los gobiernos no entienden. El hecho de que haya sido colonia inglesa, no los hace mejores. Están rodeados de un enrome mundo hispano. Podrían ser el primer país en el continente americano en ser realmente bilingüe. Ni siquiera Canadá lo es. Es decir, los canadienses no pueden saltar del inglés al francés sin problemas. Muchos francocanadienses si pueden usar los dos idiomas muy bien. No así el anglocanadiense.

    En Belice un alto porcentaje tiene el español como lengua materna, 53%. Otro alto porcentaje puede hacer un muy buen papel en su uso como segundo idioma.

    En un mundo globalizado todos debieran hablar español e inglés, dos de los idiomas más universales del mundo. Casualmente en Belice hay población que los domina. ¿Qué esperan para oficializarlos a la par? Que fueron colonia inglesa, ¿qué importa? Primero debieran estar sus intereses, que los de la reina. ¿o no?

  32. Mr.Chuc says:

    Mestizo now is the largest group but they mix the Mestizo(Mayan mix with spaniard ) the ones that came from Caste war and put them along with the guatemalans,Salvadorians ,etc ….there are many yucatec mayans that now called them selfs mestizo while others yucatec mayans mix with mestizo called them selves Maya mestizo .they need to be more specific with the cultural identity . For example in the north Belize alot of people got Mayan surnames but because of ignorance they called themselves Mestizo/Hispanics rather than Yucatec Maya (because they feel shame of being discriminated) etc ….Many creole also have mix with the Garifuna etc what ever happens Belize will become Hispanic . English is the official language but most Belizeans speak creol or Spanish .

  33. Mr.Chuc says:

    The term mestizo needs to be redifine:For me a mestizo/Maya mestizo is some one of yucatec Mayan and Spanish ancestry that came during the caste war and they got a unique culture .Some speak Spanish and others yucatec or Spanish with some yucatec words. Now they ate being confuse with the mestizos/Hispanics that came from Guatemala,Salvador etc which are different .they need to redifine mestizo maybe Maya mestizo (For the ones that came from the caste war) and mestizo to the ones that came from Guatemala not to make confusions

  34. Mai says:

    Many of those Mestizos in northern Belize are actually Maya , the Maya mestizos of northern Belize are different than the Guatemalans/salvador people culturally,different traditional dressing,different food etc dnt know why they put them all together .

  35. Mr.Mai says:

    Many of those Mestizos in northern Belize are actually Maya , the Maya mestizos(YUcatec mayas) of northern Belize are different than the Guatemalans/salvador people culturally,different traditional dressing,different food etc dnt know why they put them all together .

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