Life expectancy at birth has increased from 56 to 68 years between 2001 and 2011, says the Secretary for Economic and Financial policy, Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo, who was speaking at the 2011 Population and housing census dissemination conference. A press statement from the government of Botswana quoted Dr Nyamadzabo saying the 2011 Population and Housing Census results also showed some positive trends on a number of socio-economic spheres such as a decline of infant mortality rate from 56 to 27 deaths per one thousand life births during the period 2001 and 2011. He noted that, “Judging by our performance against the best in class, we still have a long way to go to match developed country levels of around 2 deaths per 1000 live births.”
Crude death rate, he said also dropped from 12.4 to 6.6 deaths per 1000 population Dr Nyamadzabo noted that fertility trends have also declined over time, noting that the average number of children that would be born to a woman during her reproductive life if she were to experience the prevailing age-specific fertility rates, declined from 3.2 to 2.7 children per woman between the two censuses. He observed that tracking the trend over the past three decades shows Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 6.6, 5.2, 3.2 and 2.7 children per woman, respectively for the last four censuses. Furthermore, he said there are 47 urban villages in Botswana, an increase of twenty villages over the 2001 list, adding that in essence more and more areas of Botswana are becoming urbanised.
Dr Nyamadzabo said 64 per cent of the population now lives in urban areas compared to 54.2 per cent observed in the 2001 census. “This trend certainly says something about Batswana’s trend reduced participation in agricultural activities and, more fundamentally, the resultant lower contribution of the sector to the economy,” he said.
On the economic activity, he said, the census results yielded an unemployment rate of 19.6 per cent for the population aged 18 years and above, noting that the results corroborate high levels of unemployment among the youth. Dr Nyamadzabo stated that the figures add to those calling for concerted efforts at employment creation.