The population of Roatan island has more than quadrupled since 2001 to more than 100,000, according to preliminary results of last year’s nationwide census, a municipal official said.
Carson Dilbert, mayor of Santos Guardiola Municipality, which covers the eastern half of the island, said results of the Honduran census conducted last August had not been made public. But he said census officials had informed municipalities of the preliminary tablulations, which he said indicated the population of Santos Guardiola had grown to 23,000, compared with just 8,000 in the last previous official census, conducted in 2001. He said the count for Roatan Municipality, covering the western half of the island, grew five-fold, to 86,000 from 17,000 in 2001.
These figures imply the total number of inhabitants on the island is now 109,000, compared with 25,000 in 2001.
The 2001 census was criticized for undercounting the number of people who had migrated to the Bay Islands from the mainland. The National Institute of Statistics (INE) subsequently revised the count upward 20 percent for the Bay Islands as a whole to 38,000 but did not provide a revised breakdown by municipality.
The 2013 census employed more bilingual islanders to count Bay Islands households, which was expected to produce a more accurate count (see September webzine, page 20). Preliminary results were expected to be made public last September. But Hondudiario reported that month, citing reports on the HRN radio network, that the census had “failed” (fracasó) because criminal gangs had stolen entire cases of completed census forms. Other national media had previously reported that census operations had been disrupted by security threats to census workers in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
Links to the 2013 census on the INE website May 7 led to nowhere, producing error messages when clicked.