Brunei’s population shrinks on worker exodus, fewer births

Brunei’s population is shrinking © Arno Maierbrugger

Early results from Brunei’s 2021 population census show that the country is moving towards an ageing population due to falling birth rates and a further shrinkage due to a continuing exodus of foreign workers over the past two years, Brunei news portal The Scoop reported.

Overall, Brunei’s population shrank 5.2 per cent annually, according to preliminary census figures. The total number of residents dropped from 453,600 in 2020 to 429,999 in 2021, the second year in a row the population count fell due to fewer foreign nationals.

Brunei citizens and permanent residents accounted for 82.2 per cent of the total population in 2021, while foreigners are making up 17.8 per cent.

In 2020, Brunei reported the first year-on-year dip in migrant workers since records began, owing to Covid-19 border closures that have been in place for 19 months. The Ministry of Home Affairs stopped issuing work permits to foreigners as part of pandemic control measures in March last year, and only workers deemed essential to the economy have been allowed into the country.

Expatriates leave on expired contracts

Many expatriates also left the country as their contracts expired, according to Brunei’s Department of Economic Planning and Statistics.

Released on October 18, the preliminary 2021 census data showed an 8.6 per cent decrease in the number of foreign residents year-on-year.

The decline in foreign labour is also attributable to the government having introduced a policy two years ago which limits the number of foreign workers employers are able to hire in specific sectors. Employers are required to prioritise the recruitment of Bruneians with the introduction of the “local and foreign workforce ratio.”

Locals outnumbered foreign workers in the private sector for the first time in 2019, according to the Annual Census of Enterprises.

Elderly population almost doubled in a decade

The census also suggests that Brunei is heading towards an ageing population as there were fewer people in the 0-12 age group, while the number of seniors rose. The number of children in the 0-12 age group dwindled 10.7 per cent over the past decade, implying falling birth rates. There were also fewer teenagers aged 12 to 17, dropping 10.3 per cent in numbers.

On the other hand, the elderly population aged 60 and above soared by a staggering 93.4 per cent compared to the 2011 census. Senior citizens now comprise 10.1 per cent of the total population.

The census is conducted every ten years to provide a new benchmark for Brunei’s population and housing profile and help shape public policy on education, healthcare, housing, land use and transport.



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[caption id="attachment_37116" align="alignleft" width="300"] Brunei's population is shrinking © Arno Maierbrugger[/caption] Early results from Brunei’s 2021 population census show that the country is moving towards an ageing population due to falling birth rates and a further shrinkage due to a continuing exodus of foreign workers over the past two years, Brunei news portal The Scoop reported. Overall, Brunei’s population shrank 5.2 per cent annually, according to preliminary census figures. The total number of residents dropped from 453,600 in 2020 to 429,999 in 2021, the second year in a row the population count fell due to fewer foreign nationals. Brunei citizens...

Brunei’s population is shrinking © Arno Maierbrugger

Early results from Brunei’s 2021 population census show that the country is moving towards an ageing population due to falling birth rates and a further shrinkage due to a continuing exodus of foreign workers over the past two years, Brunei news portal The Scoop reported.

Overall, Brunei’s population shrank 5.2 per cent annually, according to preliminary census figures. The total number of residents dropped from 453,600 in 2020 to 429,999 in 2021, the second year in a row the population count fell due to fewer foreign nationals.

Brunei citizens and permanent residents accounted for 82.2 per cent of the total population in 2021, while foreigners are making up 17.8 per cent.

In 2020, Brunei reported the first year-on-year dip in migrant workers since records began, owing to Covid-19 border closures that have been in place for 19 months. The Ministry of Home Affairs stopped issuing work permits to foreigners as part of pandemic control measures in March last year, and only workers deemed essential to the economy have been allowed into the country.

Expatriates leave on expired contracts

Many expatriates also left the country as their contracts expired, according to Brunei’s Department of Economic Planning and Statistics.

Released on October 18, the preliminary 2021 census data showed an 8.6 per cent decrease in the number of foreign residents year-on-year.

The decline in foreign labour is also attributable to the government having introduced a policy two years ago which limits the number of foreign workers employers are able to hire in specific sectors. Employers are required to prioritise the recruitment of Bruneians with the introduction of the “local and foreign workforce ratio.”

Locals outnumbered foreign workers in the private sector for the first time in 2019, according to the Annual Census of Enterprises.

Elderly population almost doubled in a decade

The census also suggests that Brunei is heading towards an ageing population as there were fewer people in the 0-12 age group, while the number of seniors rose. The number of children in the 0-12 age group dwindled 10.7 per cent over the past decade, implying falling birth rates. There were also fewer teenagers aged 12 to 17, dropping 10.3 per cent in numbers.

On the other hand, the elderly population aged 60 and above soared by a staggering 93.4 per cent compared to the 2011 census. Senior citizens now comprise 10.1 per cent of the total population.

The census is conducted every ten years to provide a new benchmark for Brunei’s population and housing profile and help shape public policy on education, healthcare, housing, land use and transport.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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