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94% of Uganda households use firewood or charcoal for cooking, Pentecostals now at 11%

Ronald Musoke

Highlights of the 2014 Uganda national and housing census

**Uganda’s population stands at 34.6 million

**Females constitute 51% of population

**Total Fertility Rate is 5.8 children per woman. Declined from 7.1 children per woman in 1991.

**Infant Mortality Rate is 53 infant deaths per 1000 per live births

**Annual population growth rate is 3%

**Population density stands at 173 persons per sq km

**Children below 18 years constitute 55%

**Youths (18-30 years) are 23%

**Age dependence ratio is 103%

**Literacy rate stands at 72.2% (population of people aged 10 years and above)

**8% of children are orphaned

**12.5% of Primary school age children (6-12 years) are not attending school

**12.5% of people have at least one form of disability

**25% of households live in urban areas

**Mean household size is 4.7%

**72% of households have access to an improved water source

**8% of households have no access to a toilet facility

**20% of households have access to electricity

**94% of households use firewood or charcoal for cooking

**69% of households depend on subsistence farming as main source of livelihood

**32% of households own a bicycle

**80% of households are involved in agriculture

**Baganda remain the biggest tribe (16.5%) followed by the Banyankore (9.6%), Basoga (8.8%), Bakiga (7.1%), Itesot (7%), Lango (6.3%), Bagisu (4.9%), Acholi (4.4%) and Lugbara (3.3%).

**Religious denominations — Catholics (39.3%); Protestants or Anglicans (32.0%) Muslims (13.7) Pentecostals (11.1).

Katikkiro of Buganda CP Mayiga during the census. Buganda remains most populated tribe.

Museveni relishes Uganda’s population bulge

President Yoweri Museveni has welcomed the marked improvement in the country’s demographics saying he is happy Uganda’s population has increased by almost 20 million people since 1986.

Speaking at the launch of the 2014 national population and housing census report on March 24 in Kampala by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Museveni noted that over 30 years ago, life expectancy for Ugandans was just 43 years but it has since shot to 63 years in 2014, he said.

In 1991, when Museveni’s government conducted the first national census in his 30 years in power, Uganda’s population stood at 16.7 million and according to the just released results; there are about 34.6 million people.

Museveni attributed the improvement in demographic indicators to his ruling NRM government’s people-centred policies and low-cost high impact programmes of immunization, safe water, hygiene, malaria control and behaviour change.

According to UBOS, Uganda’s population has increased by 10 million people since the last census was carried out in 2002.

However, the results show that the updated figure of 34.6 million is slightly lower than the results released in November, 2014 (34.9 million) following the enumeration exercise done in August, 2014 under the theme of: “Counting for Planning and improved service delivery.”

UBOS officials explained that the change is as a result of cleaning the data (getting rid of ghost entries following careful verification).

Archbishop Ntangali during the census. The size of Pentacostals has grown fast.

Census Highlights

Some of the highlights include the fact that Uganda has about 7.3 million households countrywide with about 75% of Ugandans said to be residing in the countryside.

According to UBOS, each Ugandan household hosts about five people and 30% of these households are female headed.

There are also more women than men and the difference is as big as 500,000 (17 million men compared to about 17.5 million women).

In terms of age distribution, the census found that the youth population (18-30 years) makes up about 22.5% of the total population while people in the 15-64 years age bracket is 49% of the population. On the other hand, people said to be above 65 years are 2.7% of the entire population.

The fertility rate amongst Ugandan women which is still one the highest in the world is beginning to decline. UBOS says the total fertility rate has declined from 7.1 children per woman in 1991 to 5.8 children per woman in 2014. Similarly, infant mortality is also improving as 53 children die per 1000 live births compared to 87 in 2002.

On the other hand under-five mortality rate is estimated at 80 deaths per 1000 compared to 156 deaths per 1000 in 2002. Life expectancy has also shot up to 63.3 years compared to 50.4 years in 2002.

Matia Kasaijja, the minister of finance, planning and economic development said living conditions amongst Ugandans, although not very high, are certainly improving.

According to UBOS, there is a growing trend of Ugandans living in urban areas which is a good sign of modernization.

The urban population has been increasing over time from about 1.7 million in 1991 to nearly 7.4 million in 2014.

Urban Population up

Museveni also welcomed the growing trend of Ugandans living in urban areas since one of the characteristics of backward societies is for people to live in rural areas.

Museveni said in the coming years, government policies will be focused on improving human capital.

He said education will be crucial in improving the overall quality of the population and as a result the government will build technical colleges per constituency to train and equip people with technical and artisanal knowledge.

Going forward, the government will have to plan towns better by building industries so populations can gravitate towards these urban centres which in the process will free up the countryside.

“I can see that things are really moving. There is still work to be done but we are moving surely,” Museveni said.

By March, 2016, there were up to 259 urban centres in Uganda and these include Kampala, the capital city, 33 municipalities, 163 town councils and 62 town boards.

In terms of ethnic distribution, the Baganda remain the biggest tribe (16.5%) followed by the Banyankore (9.6%), Basoga (8.8%), Bakiga (7.1%), Itesot (7%), Lango (6.3%), Bagisu (4.9%), Acholi (4.4%) and Lugbara (3.3%).

As far as religion is concerned, although the biggest religions denominations remain Catholics (39.3%); Protestants or Anglicans (32.0%) both the Muslims (13.7) and Pentecostals (11.1) are making inroads. Pentecostals appear to have made the biggest leap in terms of percentage increase—from 4.7% in 2002.

Big population good

Still, Museveni maintained his long held view that a country having a big population is not necessarily bad.

“As an African, I am an advocate of bigger families,” Museveni said.

“I have always said the riches of a nation are not just in the ground or in its soils but its people.”

Citing Japan and South Korea for its skilled human resource, Museveni said a number of rich countries do not have national resources but depend on its people who are educated and skilled.”

“We need natural resources but they don’t compare to skilled human resources,” he said.

Museveni noted that it should be a population of quality; not just human beings without value addition.

What remains is consistent education by the relevant government agencies to educate people on what to grow and what to eat.

By doing this, the country would be well poised to benefit from the population bulge.

But despite several positives from Uganda’s demographics, one area where Ugandans are still ‘sleeping’ as Museveni put it is in their lack of participation in the money economy.

In 2002, there were 32% of homesteads in the money economy and by 2014; there were 31% in the money economy.

“The 69% of homesteads are still engaged in subsistence agriculture—the same number that was reported in 1991,” Museveni said.

The president partly blamed the Ugandans’ laziness but also the cultural practices of land redistribution (fragmentation) done during inheritance when parents die.

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