Provisional census result puts population at 51.4 million, says minister
The provisional result of Myanmar’s first census in three decades shows the country has a population of 51 million, Minister of Immigration and Population U Khin Yi told a news conference in Yangon on August 30.
The previous census was in 1983 and recent estimates by the government had put the population at about 60 million.
“The provisional result of the population in Myanmar is 51,419,420. The female population is 1.7 million more than the male population,” U Khin Yi told the news conference.
The full results, including breakdowns by religion and ethnicity, will be released in May next year.
The census did not include about 1.2 million people in parts of Rakhine State and conflict-torn Kachin and Karen states, said Daw Khine Khine Soe, the director of the ministry’s Population Department.
She said the 60 million population estimate was based on the 1983 census and an earlier population growth rate, adding that a declining birth rate may help explain the lower census figure.
The census, conducted in March and April, triggered international concern after authorities back-tracked on an earlier agreement and refused to allow Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State to self-identify their ethnicity,
Myanmar regards the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite many having lived for generations in Myanmar.
Critics had warned the United Nations and donors in the run-up to the census that the tally had the potential to spark unrest, pointing out controversy over questions of ethnicity and religion in the survey.
The census was largely carried out by hundreds of teachers and its 41 questions will provide data that will be essential for policy making and national planning.