Atlases – Census 2004 and Geo-historical

One of the more useful TL government web sites is the National Statistics Directorate, otherwise known as “Direccao Nacional de Estatistica” at

I have seen a paper copy of the census reports (dated September 2006) which comes in 2 booklets :

Timor-Leste Census of Population and Housing 2004 – Population Projections 2004 – 2050
Timor-Leste Census of Population and Housing 2004 – Atlas

I looked at the first and thought it a bit inpenetrable to anybody but someone keenly interested. The Atlas version contains lots of coloured maps which are easier for me make sense of, and I intend to get myself a copy – as a momento of what things are like here when my own memory fails me one day.

I am not sure when it appeared but an abbreviated (but not readily downloadable) version is now available on the Directorate web site. It reminded me to put acquisition of a copy on the todo list.

Some interesting numbers (from 2004) :

  • Population : total 923,198 ; Dili 173,541 (2010 projected : 1,149,028)
  • 19% of population in Dili (trending upwards rapidly)
  • 103 males per 100 females (but trending lower outside Dili, down to as low as 89)
  • Mean number of people per household : 4.7
  • Median age : 18.3
  • Age distribution is uniformly suggesting high birthrates and high deathrates, the only blip being in males of 25 to 29 years.
  • Agriculture is by far the biggest “employer” with 27% of al families involved in coffee growing
  • Language proficiency in Dili : Tetun 75% ; Indonesian 71% ; Portuguese 19% ; English 12%
  • Illiteracy : Total 54% ; Dili 26%
  • High school graduates : Total 15% ; Dili 38%
  • Fertility rate (babies per woman) : Total 7 (the highest in the world) ; Dili 4.5 (lowest district value in Dili which is still very high)
  • Infant mortality (1st year of birth) : 98 per 1,000 (very high)

A recent acquisition and recent appearance (at the Hotel Timor gift shop) is the “East Timor Geo-Historical Atlas” by Frederic Durand (published by Silkwork Books in 2006). It is an English translation of the French “Timor Lorosa’e, pays au carrefour de l’Asie et du Pacifique” published in 2000. It has some updates but is basically the 2000 version in English. As it has a historic rather than geographical /social emphasis (like say the census), it probably does not suffer too much from this. Locally, it is US$45 which may be a bit pricey but compared to what !

1 thought on “Atlases – Census 2004 and Geo-historical

  1. Thought I’d use this for part of the data for a snapshot of Timor Leste, as getting through the density of other versions – so I hope you transferred the numbers correctly.
    If you have any other ideas on easily accessible sources for basic facts I’d appreciate it. – Government website suggested the population has risen from 950,000 when I left to a 900M – what has been happening over there and not being reported?

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