THE Population and Housing Censuses of Malaysia for the last three decades showed a drop in the average annual growth in the population of Sarawak by 0.35%.
Statistics revealed that the average annual growth rate during the period from 1991-2000 was 2.24% compared with 2.59% from 1980-1991.
Department of Statistics Malaysia revealed that there were 2,009,893 people in Sarawak in 2000 as against 1,642,771 people in the 1991 census and 1,235,553 people in the 1980 census.
The capital city and its surrounding areas registered the highest growth of population with Kuching, having an average annual growth rate of 3.24% from 1991-2000 (494,109 people in 2000) as against 3.11% from 1980-1991.
The 2000 census showed that the second most populace administrative district 10 years ago was Miri (221,055) followed by Sibu (210,118) and Bintulu (139,012).
Kuching had 369,065 people in 1991 as per the census taken that year while the census taken in 1980 showed its population then at 262,085.
However, a notable drop in population growth from the 1980-1991 period to 1991-2000 period was registered in Tatau (4.76% to 1.06%), Kapit (3.99% to 0.22%), Belaga (6.02% to 0.30%), Marudi (3.02% to -0.04%), Limbang (3.12% to 1.79%) and Lawas (3.57% to 1.24%).
The 2000 census revealed that of the 2mil people in Sarawak, 52% are living in the rural areas.
Of the 29 administrative districts in Sarawak, only four have more people living in the urban areas – Kuching (85.5%), Sibu (79.7%), Bintulu (74.6%) and Miri (76.5%).
It should be noted that the figures taken from the Population and Housing Censuses of Malaysia 1980, 1991 and 2000 have not been adjusted for under-enumeration.
The 1980 and 1991 data were adjusted to the administrative district boundaries as of Census 2000 where Kuching, Simunjan, Daro Dalat, Bintulu, Tatau, Matu and Asajaya were concerned.
Since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, there have been four censuses - 1970, 1980, 1991 and 2000. The on-going census is the fifth.