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SIB reveals results of 2022 Population and Housing Census

HeadlineSIB reveals results of 2022 Population and Housing Census

Photo: Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 8, 2024

The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) unveiled the preliminary results of the 2022 Population and Housing Census at a launch event held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza today, where the institution gave a glimpse into the country’s demographic and housing characteristics, and changes that have taken place in the country between the last two censuses.

Carried out every ten years, the Census is an essential source of knowledge “for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders across various sectors”, providing insights into the demographic composition and living conditions of Belize’s residents.

“The launch of the key findings of the 2022 Population and Housing Census marks the culmination of an extensive and intricate process that started almost eight years ago, far preceding the commencement of data collection, a process which involves meticulous planning, coordination, and execution every step of the way,” commented Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO at the Ministry of Economic Development.

According to the 2022 Census, Belize’s population has increased to 397,483—indicating growth of 23% since the last Census in 2010, when that number was 322,424. However, there is a marked difference in the number of males (195,695) compared to females (201,789).

Interestingly, the data also shows a shift in the population’s place of birth, with 87.8% having been born in Belize and 11.5% being born abroad.

Belize continues to be predominantly rural, with 57.8% of its population residing in rural areas, while 42.2% of the population live in urban areas.

District-by-district data reveal disparities in population size, with the Belize district outpacing others with 113,630 residents, followed by the Cayo district with 99,105, Orange Walk with 54,152, Stann Creek with 48,162, Corozal with 45,310, and Toledo with 37,124.

The census also shed light on ethnic diversity. According to the data, Mestizos, who have been the largest ethnic group in the country since 1991, now comprise 51.7% of the population. Other significant ethnic groups include the Creoles (25.2%), Maya (11.2%), and Garifuna (4.0%).

In religious practices, the country has seen a shift, with the number of Roman Catholics dropping to 31.8%, while the percentage of the population who are not affiliated with any religion has risen sharply to 31%. The percentage of the population who are Protestants has seen a modest increase to 29.8%, while other religions have decreased since 2010 from 10.4% to 6.3% in 2022.

Turning to housing, the average household size has decreased over the years from 5.2 persons in 1980 to 3.6 persons per household in 2022.

Homeownership remains strong, with 2 in 3 households owning their place of residence, while 7 in 8 of households live in undivided private houses. Additionally, the data reveals that households have an average of 2 bedrooms per dwelling.

Belize has seen progress in utility access. 83.8% of households now have a public water supply piped into their area, and an impressive 87.4% rely on electricity from BEL as their main source of lighting. The sanitation infrastructure has also improved, with 76.5% of households connected to a septic tank or sewer system.

When it comes to ownership of assets, there’s been a significant increase in access to, or ownership of, technology and appliances. The most common household assets include stoves (92%), cell phones (90.9%), and washing machines (81.3%). In contrast, the least owned assets are home exercise equipment (3.8%) and dishwashers (3.1%).

The data also revealed that 20.1% of households now have access to cable satellite TV services, 4.3% can access a fixed line telephone, and 71.3% now have internet access—an indication of Belize’s growing digital connectivity.

“The critical importance of the data from the 2022 Population and Housing Census can’t be overstated. At the international level, the results will provide much needed, disaggregated data to monitor our country’s progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals. But it will also serve to help our MDBs, our multinational development banks, [and] our development partners,” Martinez added.

The event held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza today was the first in a series of presentations of data to the public.

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