The Fiji Bureau of Statistics released the results of its 2017 Population and Housing Census this week.
A total of 884,887 persons were enumerated in the 2017 Population and Housing Census, with these Fiji residents living in 191,910 private households and 1,224 institutions on census night (September 17, 2017).
Other highlights from the Census include the following:
• The total population is 884,887 compared to 837,271 in the 2007 census. This is an increase of 47,616 (5.7 per cent)
• The median age is 27.5 years and 69 per cent of the population is below the age of 40.
• The annual population growth is 0.6 per cent, due to low birth rates and migration out of the country
• 50-7 per cent of the population are male, while females make up 49.3 per cent. Males have a higher proportion below the age of 59 years but females are higher in age groups over 60 years, so have greater longevity.
• Urban population stood at 494,252 while the rural population stood at 390,635 (44.1 per cent of the total population), a decline of 21,790 (5.3 per cent) from 2007.
• The unemployment rate was down to 4.5 percent, the lowest recorded in 20 years. This is lower than the 5.5 percent unemployment rate estimated from the 2015-2016 Employment and Unemployment Survey.
• The Labour Force Participation Rate (labour force/ population aged over 15 years) is 57.1 per cent.
• 62.7 per cent of the population aged 15 years and older reported to having bank accounts. This represents a total of 392,148 individuals.
• 13.7 percent of population aged three and above reported at least one functioning challenge (disability). The international benchmark is 15 percent.
Key findings also noted that 55.9 percent of the country’s population reside in urban areas and that the urban population stood at 494,252, an increase of 69,406 (16.3 per cent) from 2007.
The bureau noted that much of the growth in urban areas was due to the extension of urban boundaries to cover growth in Nadi, Lautoka and parts of Taveuni island in Cakaudrove.
In Fiji’s Western division, the province of Ba (which includes Nadi Town, Lautoka City, Ba Town and Tavua Town) had a significant increase in the proportion of its urban population (52.2 percent in 2007 to 66.8 per cent in 2017).
In Fiji's Central division, Naitasiri province’s urban population grew by 10.1 per cent, with the urban proportion of its population sitting at 83.7 per cent. Rewa province’s urban population grew by 5.3 per cent with the urban proportion of its population now at 86.5 per cent. Tailevu province noted a 14.0 per cent increase in urban population. The Central Division includes Suva City.
In Fiji's Northern division, Cakaudrove’s urban population increased 56.4 per cent, and the urban proportion of its population increased from 14.3 per cent in 2007 to 21.8 per cent in 2017.
Fiji’s rural population of 44.1 per cent has decreased by 5.1 per cent compared to 2007. Females have had a higher level of increase in urban areas, with the most notable in Ba Province. There are more females in the Central division, and more females in the urban areas that is consistent throughout the four administrative divisions, while the labour force participation rate is highest in the Eastern division.