Marginal decline in life expectancy

Azlan Othman

The Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) recently released the Report of the Mid-Year Population Estimates 2019, presenting the population estimates and key demographic characteristics of Brunei Darussalam’s mid-year population in 2019.

According to the report, there has been an increase in the mid-year population estimate of Brunei Darussalam for 2019 totalling 459,500 compared to 442,400 in 2018. This represented a growth rate of 3.9 per cent.

The population comprised 244,500 males (53.2 per cent) and 215,000 females (46.8 per cent). The sex ratio was 114 males for every 100 females.

Out of the overall total population in 2019, Brunei Citizens accounted for the largest share of 72.2 per cent (331,800), while the shares of the Permanent Residents and Temporary Residents were 7.3 per cent (33,500) and 20.5 per cent (94,200).

Life expectancy, meanwhile dropped last year to 77.4 years old compared to 77.5 years old in 2018 with female living longer (78.4 years old) than male (76.4).

DEPS said the compilation for the estimates is based on the final data of the Population and Housing Census Update (KBPP) 2016 and incorporating the major components of population change, that is births and deaths for natural increase, and net migration.

For the 2019 estimates, the compilation for net migration was made using relevant administrative data from the Immigration and National Registration Department, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Department of Schools, Ministry of Education.

File photo of Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas in Bandar Seri Begawan. The Brunei-Muara District is the most populated district in Brunei Darussalam with 69.5 per cent (319,500) of the total population according to the ‘Report of the Mid-Year Population Estimates 2019’ by the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics. PHOTO: ABDUL QAWI HAJI ZULKIPLI

The Brunei-Muara District is the most populated district with 69.5 per cent (319,500) of the total population. This is followed by the Belait District (16.5 per cent or 75,900), the Tutong District (11.5 per cent or 52,700), and the Temburong District (2.5 per cent or 11,400).

From the age distribution aspect, about 20.6 per cent (94,600) of the population are below 15 years, 74.6 per cent (342,700) in the working age group of 15-64 years and 4.8 per cent (22,200) are aged 65 years and over. The median age in 2019 was 30.6 years compared to 30.4 years in 2018.

The Malays with 65.8 per cent (302,200) of the total population formed the largest community in the country. The racial groups of Chinese and others comprised 10.3 per cent (47,200) and 24.0 per cent (110,100) of the population respectively.

Labour force population also rose from 220,073 in 2018 to 227,751 last year, dominated mostly by male groups with 138,407 compared to female with 89,344. The unemployment rate has also dropped to 6.9 per cent from 8.5 per cent in 2018.

Employed persons were 212,074 last year compared to 201,346 in 2018. Males dominated the statistics with 130,152 while females constituted some 81,921. Unemployed persons totalled 15,677 last year while in 2018, it was 18,728. More males were unemployed last year with 8,255 compared to 7,423 for females.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has given serious attention to the issue of unemployment, whereby His Majesty has consented to the establishment of the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to tackle the issue effectively.

Initiatives currently being carried out in the country to address the issue of unemployment can be summarised in three main aspects – supply, demand and enablers.

For the first aspect, several initiatives are currently being carried out to further strengthen the supply of local workforce to fulfil the needs of industries in terms of mindset and work ethics, and improving skills and competency through upskilling and re-skilling.

The upskilling and re-skilling programmes are in line with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the Brunei Darussalam Economic Blueprint, to increase employment opportunities for locals.

With regard to demand, initiatives are being implemented to focus on job creation such as reviewing and formulating policies, as well as workforce process and increase cooperation among ministries with the private sector, industrial sector and foreign direct investment companies, to generate economic growth and increase the number of quality job in public and private sectors.

Enablers involve activities of matching between supply and demand, including one-stop career centres, aligning, collection and verifying information of workforce for the use of human resource planning and infrastructure preparation.

Towards this, JobCentre Brunei has introduced several programmes including District Connect and Institution Outreach, aiming to disseminate its services such as curriculum vitae writing and interview tips.

Meanwhile, fewer registered live births were recorded last year with 6,178 compared to 6,199 in 2018 with male newborns dominating the figure with 3,186 compared to female with 2,992. Total fertility rate has also dropped to 1.6 per cent in 2019 compared to 1.7 two years ago.

Registered deaths were 1,757 last year (with male dominating the figure with 963 and female 794) compared to 1,612 in 2018.