Brunei's population annual growth rate declines

Bandar Seri Begawan (The Brunei Times/ANN) - Brunei's annual average population growth has come down significantly in the past 10 years. The Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) announced yesterday that the preliminary report of the Population and Housing Census (BPP) 2011 shows annual average growth at 1.7 per cent down from 2.5 per cent in 2001.

It said as a result Brunei's population stands at 393,162 as of November 2011, a slight increase from the last estimate of 332,844 in 2001. The Acting Director General of JPKE, Abd Amin Hj Hashim, during a press conference said that the population composition was 202,668 males or about 51.5 per cent, while females made up 48.5 per cent of the population or 190,494.

He said that Brunei's low fertility rate in the past decade had been one of the factors.

The decline in the annual growth rate is seen as "a bit of worry" by JPKE, the director-general said, adding that this would adversely affect Brunei's social and economic growth.

"As we have observed from other countries, when the growth is below the replacement level (2 per cent), there are social and economic consequences," Abd Amin said.

"From the economic point of view, we have talked about dependency on foreign workers, and also in terms of the economies of scale, meaning if a company build a factory in Brunei, that is dependent on local demand, then the low population may not be suitable for mass production...unless we go for export," he added.

"So the local demand may be small here, and of course from other perspective, we have already mentioned consequences in terms of education, medical and health, and in terms of provisions of social amenities."

According to the report, Brunei-Muara District is still the most populated district with 279,842 persons, which comprised 71.2 per cent of the total population.

It is explained in the report that this figure reflected the continuous in-migration into the district due to growing economic activities and residential attractions.

Belait District is the second most populated district with 15.4 per cent or 60,609, meanwhile Tutong and Temburong are home to 43,855 and 8,856 respectively.

The Preliminary Report on BPP 2011 presents the preliminary data obtained from the second stage of BPP 2011 which was carried out through interviews in June and July of last year, before being updated using the results of the Census Evaluation Survey of BPP 2011 in October and November of last year.

The data is subject to further revisions after exhaustive data processing has been fully completed where the mid-year population estimate released earlier on annual basis will also be revised using the latest BPP 2011 data. The Brunei Times

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