PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's population is growing at a slightly faster rate, largely due to an influx of non-citizens.
An analysis of the Statistic Department’s district population estimates also found an increase in the number of people residing in all but one of the country's 156 districts.
The country's population, which is currently estimated at 33.4 million, is forecast to grow by 2.1% this year, higher than the 0.4% growth recorded in 2022 and 0.3% in 2021.
The department's figures show that the growth this year is mainly driven by the non-citizen population, which is rising at a faster rate compared with the population natural increase.
Natural increase is the difference between the estimated number of births and deaths.
According to the department, the number of non-citizens grew by 17% this year to 2.96 million compared with 2.5 million last year.
This marked the highest growth rate since pre-pandemic levels.
The citizen population meanwhile increased by a much smaller 0.7% to 30.4 million compared with 30.2 million last year.
In the past several years, a drop in the number of non-citizens and a rising crude death rate due largely to Covid-19 had affected Malaysia's population growth.
Fastest growing districts
Sabah's Kinabatangan, Semporna, Kunak and Beluran recorded the biggest percentage increase in population among all districts nationwide.
Kinabatangan's population grew by 13.4% in 2023, followed by Semporna (11.7%), Kunak (11.5%), Beluran (9.4%) and Sarawak's Sebauh (9.3%).
The growth in most of the top districts were mainly driven by the significant increase in the number of non-citizens.
Districts with shrinking populations
Meanwhile, only one of the 156 districts is expected to record a reduced population in 2023, compared with 31% in 2022.
The following shows the population growth in Malaysia by state and district.
The data does not include the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.
Birth rates and population growth
Birth rates was on a declining trend, with crude birth rates per 1,000 births further dropping to 13.5 in 2021.
In addition, the drop in number of non-citizens caused by the closure of international borders during the pandemic also contributed to Malaysia's slow population growth.
However, in 2023, it is estimated that the figures will improve with the return of foreign workers to the country.
In Malaysia, the male population is more dominant, as it is driven by the large number of male foreign workers, as well as higher male birth rates. The following shows districts where men far outnumber women:
Meanwhile, only 13 districts recorded women outnumbering men:
The country's population is also not spread out equally in each state and district. The following shows the population density in each district, as well as the number of households.
In terms of population age, Kelantan and Sabah districts have among the youngest populations in terms of average age, while some districts in Sarawak and Penang are among the oldest. The following shows the youngest and oldest districts:
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