Census results lower than expected

Australian Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Brek Batley and embassy Political Officer Samelda Leon (fourth from right) joined with Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office (EPPSO) Director Fred deBrum, and EPPSO staff members last Tuesday to sign an agreement responding to the request of the RMI for assistance in funding the final stages of the national census. Ambassador Batley signed the agreement saying that, “We know how important data is to policy development.” DeBrum conveyed his appreciation to the ambassador saying that this financial assistance will enhance the work that is needed to complete the census. Photo: Wilmer Joel.


EPPSO director Fred deBrum revealed last week that the RMI 2021 census is “basically done.” His teams of enumerators continue to finish up a few follow-ups with households they missed in the first go-around. But this isn’t expected to change the numbers greatly.
EPPSO plans to have a full written report on the census by March next year. As they collect the last bits of data, deBrum and his team has made some interesting discoveries.
As of Tuesday this week, the population of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is 41,499 persons. This is up by over 2,000 since the earlier prel
iminary results released in early November, which showed a preliminary total of 39,262.
“This is lower than before,” said deBrum, referring to the previous census of 2011, which counted 53,158 people in RMI. DeBrum said based on trends in earlier population counts, it was believed that the RMI population would continue going up.

So where did the 11,659 people go? To other countries, specifically, the United States.
“We suspected it was because of these three reasons: School, medical support and better job opportunities,” continued deBrum. Other factors that were included were the pandemic and the family planning clinic. One reason that deBrum said surprised him was when one person told him that people were leaving because of climate change.

There’s still much more data to clean up and analyze for those at EPPSO and their partners at the Pacific Community in New Caledonia, who are assisting RMI with the census.
A final report on the census will be out in 2022.


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