Submitted by Analyst
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The population of Guyana as at Census 2012 recorded a marginal reduction of 3,339 persons from the population count of 751,223 at previous Census 2002 to present Census count of 747,884 persons.
This represents an annual negative growth rate of – 0.04 per cent. However, the national average household size has decreased from about 4.1 persons per household in 2002 to 3.6 persons per household in 2012 census. The highest average household size was recorded for the four (4) Hinterland regions (Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9) combined which yielded an estimated 4.7 persons per household, down by an absolute 0.7 person when compared to the 2002 census results.
The subsequent increase in the number of the households along with the concomitant decline in the population had decreased the average household size. While the national average household size was about 5.1 persons per household in 1980 or 4.1 persons per household in 2002, it is estimated as 3.5 persons per household for the 2012 census.
Overall, there was a slight decrease in the average household size for all the townships and the city in urban centers similar to the decline experienced by the entire country. The urban average household size was reported as 3.8 persons per household in 2002 but by 2012 census, it had dropped by an absolute of 0.5 (3.3 persons per household). All the urban townships showed a consistent decline when compared to the 2002 census. The declining trend could perhaps be indicative of the increase in the proportion of single persons households particularly in the urban areas.
The growth in the number of households as shown for all the regions correlated positively with the growth of housing development as presented in the proceeding section. On the other hand, the level of decline observed in the household size indicates a significant shift in the structure of the Guyanese family setting from that of a traditional extended family type to something more of a nuclear family type (only father, mother, and children). Generally, the increase in the proportion of people living alone, particularly in the urban areas may perhaps be the noticeable reason in the decline of the average household size. The consistent high household size for the Hinterland regions was expected, for these are regions that are predominantly inhabited by the indigenous population who have historically recorded a higher household size relative to the rest of the country.
Further, the building stocks in Guyana have increased from 187,696 in 2002 to 219,509 buildings in 2012. This represents an increase of 16.9 percent during the intercensal period. Government policy of making land available for home construction as well as increase in the development of both government and private housing schemes was seen as the main reason for the growth.
At the regional level, the regions with the highest concentration of population had also recorded the largest proportion of the building stocks. As such, Demerara-Mahaica (Region 4) which has about 42 percent of the population accounts for 39.4 percent of the buildings, and Regions 3 and 6 with marginal differences in population size recorded almost the same proportion with 16.3 and 16.2 percent accordingly. Trailing behind the first three (3) regions are Regions 5, 2 and 10 in accordance with the level of distribution. As usual, the least number of buildings are reported in the Hinterland regions (Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9). These regions combined accounted for 9.0 percent of the building stocks.
As observed in the case of the national total, all the regions recorded significant increases in their building stocks. Regions with exceptional growth rates, surpassing the national average by a factor of two (2), are Regions 3 located along the coast, and Regions 7 and 9 within the Hinterland. Region 3 grew by 33.8 percent, while the two (2) Hinterland regions rose by 38.6 percent and 43.7 percent respectively. The increase for Region 6 was very marginal (2.8 percent), when compared to the degree of growth registered by the other regions.
A major factor for the unadjusted distribution pattern of the building stocks is that it follows the trends of the population distribution, the regions with significant proportions of the population, consistently has a larger proportion of the national building stocks.
On the other hand, one contributing factor to this intense building explosion is the Government of Guyana policy to make land available in all the ten (10) Administrative regions to families for the building of new homes. The impact of this policy has been observed in the last five (5) to six (6) years prior to the census. As an example, the Construction Sector has grown on average by 4.5 percent per annum since 2006 according to the overall growth of the national economy.
Data captured also on the number of business places indicates a noteworthy increase of 26.4 percent nationally. In absolute term, the number of buildings used for businesses increased from 14,560 in2002 to 18,537 in 2012.To some extent, it is reflected that the number of business places had out stripped the level of growth of the building stocks when compared regionally. For instance, in Region 7 the number of businesses nearly doubled with a recorded increase of 88.1 percent. This could be explained by the sharp rise in mining activities there as emphasized earlier. The increase is an important indicator of economic growth in those regions.
The number of dwellings was reported as 221,741 in the 2012 census, up by 16,624 dwelling units when compared to 2002 figure of 205,117 dwelling units. Of the total dwelling units, 214,999 were occupied dwelling units, while vacant and closed dwellings combined totaled 6,742 dwelling units.
There is no doubt that both dwellings and buildings are indicators of growth.