The General Census of Population and Housing held in August 2002, which was the third in Rwanda, after those of 1978 and 1991, was organized at a particularly crucial period in the history of the country. It was carried out some eight years after the war and the genocide which took away the lives of a large number of Rwandans and caused the displacement of several others both within and outside the national territory.

Substantial return migration was recorded immediately after the end of these tragic events and during the years that followed and prior to the third census. All these factors mentioned above contributed to the profound modifications in the size and composition of the population, as well as in its structure and spatial distribution over the national territory and in the main determinants of its internal dynamics. The demographic landscape of Rwanda thus underwent obvious modifications during the decade of the 1990s and the impact of these mutations could no longer be measured using data collected in 1991 nor through projections using such data which had, inevitably become outdated and inadapted.

The main objective of the 2002 census was thus to fill this gap by providing updated data of good quality and within a reasonably short time, for use in the process of reconstruction of the country, but also for the planning towards a coherent and sustainable socio-economic development in the future.The National Census Service has the pleasure to make available to the public, this document which represents the first among a series of publications which have been designed to disseminate the final results of the third General Census of Population and Housing which it conducted between the 16th and 30th of August 2002.

The present report is designed to respond to the most urgent needs of users, without necessarily covering all areas they may be interested in. More detailed and comprehensive analyses are in progress and shall be completed within the first semester of 2004..