The survey is intended to pave the way for a census next year. According to the survey, the total population of the country is estimated at 12. 316,895 million of which 5.2 million are living in urban areas and 2.8 in rural areas. Another 3.2 million are classified as nomadic and 1.1 as internally displaced.
Three quarters of the population are below 30 years of age, and around 46 percent of the population is below the age of 15. The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Abdirahman Aynte, said the decision to hold a Population Estimation Survey in 2013-2014, two years before the proposed 2016 official census, was because of the critical need to obtain basic information.
Philippe Lazzarini, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Somalia, described the survey as an historic event, providing the Somali authorities and international partners with a much better understanding of how many schools were needed for school-aged children, where to build hospitals, and what kind of services people needed.
The survey, carried out between October 2013 and March 2014 by the Federal Government in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, targeted 250,000 households in urban, rural, nomadic settings and camps for the internally displaced people.
It faced difficulties in some areas because of security issues, but managed to reach out to displaced and nomadic populations through water points. Overall, the survey provides crucial information on the size, gender and age of Somali citizens, as well as on their distribution. This was the first such estimate for some thirty or so years. A controversial census of 1986 recorded a population of 7.1 million and a UN estimate made during the civil war in 1997 offered an estimate of 10.2 million.
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