KUCHING: Statistics show overall increase of state’s population but decline in number of Chinese .
The Chinese are the only community which showed a decline in number between 2005 and 2010 although they maintain their position as the second largest ethnic group in the state.
Based on the latest statistics obtained from the Sarawak Statistics Bulletin 2012, the Chinese population in Sarawak declined from 590,300 in 2005 to 577,646 in 2010 – a drop of 2.2 per cent.
The Ibans are still the single largest ethnic group with a population of 713,421 in 2010 — an increase of 6.4 per cent from 670,400 in 2005.
The third largest ethnic group are the Malays with 568,113, followed by the Bidayuhs (198,473); Melanaus (123,410); other Bumiputera groups (156,436); Indians 7,411 and others 9,138.
Overall, the state’s population rose from 2.3 million in 2005 to 2.47 million in 2010 – a jump of 7.4 per cent.
Among the major towns and cities, Kuching, the state capital, remains the most populous with 617,887 people in 2010 — an increase from 567,200 in 2005.
Miri, the only other urban centre in the state with city status, has the second largest population with 300,543, followed Sibu (247,995) and Bintulu (189,146).
Among the 31 towns and cities in the state, four have fewer than 20,000 people. These are Dalat with a population of only 19,062; followed by Matu (17,369); Julau (15,816) and Pakan (15,480).
Major towns with a population reaching almost 100,000 are
Serian (91,599) and Samarahan (89,923).
The 2010 population of other major towns are Sri Aman (66,790); Marudi (64,018); Betong (62,131); Sarikei (58,021); Kapit (56,053); Bau (54,246); Limbang (48,186); Saratok (46,094); Mukah (42,922) and Lawas (38,385).
The rural–urban ratio of the state’s population has narrowed markedly with only 52 per cent of the people living in the rural areas.
If the rural-urban drift continues unabated, it is likely that by 2015 there might be more people living in urban centres than rural areas.