Lower birth rate and high death rate especially from HIV/AIDS are the factors causing lower population increase rate in the Amhara regional state, a controversial study by the Population Census Commission revealed this week.
The head of the census office, Samia Zekaria, told parliament on Thursday that her office had been re-examing the data collected during the 2007 census for the past several months and found out that there was no visible mistake made by data collectors.
She said that experts at the office have tried to identify the reasons why the population growth in the Amhara region only was lower than the others.
Due to HIV/AIDS and other reasons, life expectancy in Amhara region is lower than in other regions.
In addition, Amhara region witnessed a lower birth rate – the second lowest next to Tigray – which according to Samia, contributed to lower population growth rate in the region.
The population census released a few months ago puts population growth rate at 1.7 percent while in most other regions it is close to 3 percent.
The 2007 population census whose result was released months back put the population at 17.2 million while the projection was 19.6 million showing a difference of 2.4 million people.
The report drew criticism mainly from the Amhara Natinal Democratic Movement (ANDM) members. AMDM is one of the four parties which constitute the ruling coalition EPRDF.
One MP from EPRDF/AMDM, Tadesse Meskelu, said that it was ironic that HIV/AIDS should particularly kill most in Amhara region than in others.
Abdurahman Amedin of the Ethiopia Democratic Party (EDP) criticized the commission for not coming up with a satisfactory explanation and lamented the loss of time and money spent on re-evaluation. He said that it would have been less costly if another census was held in the region.
Samia, on her part, said that the commission had found no reason at all to conduct a population census again in the region.
She said that the problem lay in the projection rather than the actual count.
While voting was conducted to adopt the report, one EPRDF member, in a rare defiance observed in the ruling party, refrained from supporting the motion and abstained.
- By Bruck Shewareged | Ethiopian Reporter
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