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Oct 16, 2013

2010 Census on Population and Housing officially launched

The 2010 Census on Population and Housing was officially launched today in a glossy report, even though the findings were released since 2011. Still yet there is interesting information. In 2010 the population stood at  approximately three hundred and twenty-four thousand five hundred, we say approximately because the head count was not all inclusive; by far the largest ethnic group is  the Mestizos which stands at forty nine percent, with the creoles trailing behind at twenty two percent.  Duane Moody was there and has this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today is celebrated as Caribbean Statistical Day and to mark the occasion, the Statistical Institute of Belize officially launched the 2010 Census on population and housing in the jewel. The public was given a crash course on statistics and Belize’s unique demographic makeup and how it has changed over the past ten years.

 

Aaron Lewis

Aaron Lewis, Chairman, Board of Directors, SIB

“The Census report that is being launched today is a high quality product both in design and content. It provides for policy and decision making grounded in evidence and objectivity. I am also very happy to report that the institute is releasing on CD a data version of a tabulation system that allows any user with a personal computer—no internet access needed—to produce their own tables and graphs from the 2010 Census data.  What is on display today are finished products of the institute. You will not see today the physical exertion of the staff, their persistence or the personal sacrifices they have all needed in getting the job done and done well.”

 

It is all about collecting the substantive data for manipulation by government and policy makers to chart the way forward for the country as well as projecting the growth and the transformation of the Belizean society. President of the University of Belize, Doctor Cary Fraser, says that statistics play a key part in our history.

 

Cary Fraser

Dr. Cary Fraser, President, University of Belize

“Statistics are the indicators of the current situation that are embedded in those statistics are in fact a very complex history. And I say that because earlier this year, Kenrick Leslie, the director of the Climate Change Center made a very interesting comment. In 1960’s when he went to England, he went to Wembly Football Stadium and he was in a stadium where there were more than a hundred thousand people. And he called home to tell his parents that he was in a stadium that held a population larger than the then population of Belize, which is quite interesting because today, the population of Belize is well over three hundred thousand. What you are seeing is the transformation of a society by ways of immigration that became very significant in the 1980’s into the 1990’s. And population growth rates that are quite striking as compared to much of the English-speaking Caribbean. There are two things that are important about it that the society has become more complex based on the geographic origins of that population growth which means that the society has had to adjust to the realities of dealing with large number of immigrants and their immediate descendants.”

 

The Census 2010 puts the population of Belize, three years ago at approximately three hundred and twenty-four thousand five hundred and twenty-eight persons including prisoners, the homeless and those living in children’s homes and other institutions. Countrywide, the census shows that forty-five percent of the population lives in urban areas with four persons registered per household. It additionally looks at the country profile with regards to the ethnic scope of which Latinos or Mestizos represent forty-nine percent of the population despite English being the mostly spoken language.

 

Jacqueline Small

Jacqueline Small, Demographer, Statistical Institute of Belize

“One of the things that we observed is that despite the small size of the population, our population is in fact growing at a very fast pace. In CARICOM for example, most population growth is under one percent per annum. Ours is almost three percent per annum so that is something that stood out very clearly in the census. Another thing is that we talked about literacy…even though our literacy is really not to where we would like it to be, it is obvious that we are improving. When you look at youth literacy for example, more than four out of five person—youth (meaning) fifteen to twenty-four—is considered literate.  In the adult population there is a huge gap of almost ten percent in literacy between males and females with the males being at the lower end. When we look at the youth, we see that the gap has closed quite a bit; the difference is now less than four percent. So that is some good news coming out of the census.”

 

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the University of Belize and SIB that will result in tangible benefits for both institutions and the country.

 

Santiago Castillo

Santiago Castillo, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

“It is highly erroneous for students at this university and other public education institutions to believe that GDP statistics are irrelevant and do not directly affect them. Many of the regional and international agencies use a menu of official statistics to determine which countries are in greater need of technical and financial assistance.  Statistics are important not only to know what presently exists but also to measure the effectiveness of interventions made by those who seek to ameliorate a given situation.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

This year is being observed as the international year of statistics under the theme, “Statistics in everyday life let us educate and appreciate.” 

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