The much awaited 2009 National Population and Housing Census results point to an increased population of approximately 100,000 people bringing the total population to just over half a million.

Officially launching the results at the Mendana Hotel yesterday, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Gordon Darcy Lilo revealed that the country's population has been increasing steadily since the last decade, posing serious policy challenges for governments.

The Finance Minister says that the census results are crucial in terms of giving all stakeholders a better understanding of some of the key social indicators of the country.

Mr. Lilo also highlighted the importance of the 2009 National Population and Housing Census results in helping the government carry out its reform policies under its policy statement and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.

According to the newly released census data, Malaita province has the highest population of over 130,000 followed by Guadalcanal with over 97,000, and Western province in with over 77,000 people.