I was in Burma in April last year and quite an amazing thing happened – one day at my wife’s mothers house, we had a visit from a Government official who was there to have the house owner fill out some paperwork…
The reason? Myanmar was in the process of conducting it’s first national census in more than 30 years!
As it transitions to democracy, Myanmar will finally have accurate count of how many people are living in the country, as well as many other demographical statistics such as age, employment and religious belief.
Figures released in August 2014 revealed that Myanmar has 9 million fewer people than it thought. The last national survey was in 1983 and until now, the government had estimated that the total population was around 60 million. The Census revealed that the population is, in fact, just 51 million.
The count was not without controversy, with some officials in the western state of Rakhine banning citizens from choosing their own ethnicity. According to reports, an estimated 800,000 members of a long-persecuted Muslim minority were denied the right to identify themselves as Rohingya.
Full results from the Census can be found here: http://countryoffice.unfpa.org/myanmar/census/