A population census is expected to provide a precise answer to this question amongst other important questions. In fact, the United Nations defines the essential features of population and housing censuses as "individual enumeration, universality within a defined territory, simultaneity and defined periodicity", and recommends that population censuses be taken at least every 10 years.
In Rwanda, three censuses have been conducted in 1978, 1991 and 2002. The fourth one is planned in August 2012. And every census has the mandate to update statistics given by the preceding one.
The first census has shown that the total population was 4,831,527 in 1978 while the second one resulted in a total population of 7,148,496 in 1991. The third one has counted 8,128,553 people in 2002. According to the population projections, it is estimated that thetotal population of Rwanda in 2012 should be around 11,033,141. The total number of households was 1,055,950 in 1978 and 1,502,153 in 1991, while the total number of households in Rwanda was 1,757,426 in 2002.
The upcoming census will determine the size of the population and the number of households as of the census day 15th August 2012.
Increasing urbanization has been observed in the past decades. The proportion of urban population has been growing from 4.60% to 12.10% and 16.90% in 1978, 1991 and 2002 respectively.
The past three censuses have looked at the population density. It stood at 191 inhabitants per km2 in 1978, 283 inhabitants per km2 in 1991 and 321 inhabitants per km2 in 2002.
The average size of household has also been the matter of discovery in different censuses with 4.6 in 1978, 4.7 in 1992 and 4.5 in 2002.
The fourth Rwanda Population and Housing Census which will be conducted in August 2012 will update all population statistics provided by the last one in 2002.
By: Jean Claude Nyirimanzi