Malaysia People, Population, Religion and Nationality


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Malaysia People

Browse the information below for demographic information on Malaysia, including population, religion, nationality and more. If you do not find the Malaysia information you need on the people page, check out our complete listing on the Malaysia Country Page.

  • Malaysia Geography
  • Malaysia Government
  • Malaysia Economy
  • Malaysia History

    Nationality: Noun and adjective--Malaysian(s).
    Population (2002): 24.5 million.
    Annual growth rate: 2.2%.
    Ethnic groups: Malay 50.3%, Chinese 24.1%, Indigenous 10.9%, Indian 7.1%, non-Malaysians 6.3%, others 1.3%.
    Religions: Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha'i faith.
    Languages: Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien, Mandarin Chinese, English, Tamil, indigenous.
    Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--97.8% (primary), 82% (secondary). Literacy (2002)--94%.
    Health: Infant mortality rate (2002--5.7 /1,000. Life expectancy (2002)--female 75.3 yrs., male 70.4 yrs.
    Work force (9.84 million, 2002): Manufacturing--27.2%; services (includes government)--20.9%; trade and tourism--17.1%; agriculture--14.3%; construction--7.9%; finance--6.2%; transportation and communications--5.2%; utilities--0.8%; mining and petroleum--0.4%.

    People of Malaysia
    Malaysia's population of 24.5 million (2002) continues to grow at a rate of 2.2% per annum; about 33.5% of the population is under the age of 15. Malaysia's population comprises many ethnic groups, with the politically dominant Malays comprising a majority. By constitutional definition, all Malays are Muslim. About a quarter of the population is Chinese who have historically played an important role in trade and business.

    Malaysians of Indian descent comprise about 7% of the population and include Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians. About 85% of the Indian community is Tamil.

    Non-Malay indigenous groups make up more than half of the Borneo state of Sarawak's population and about 66% of the Borneo state of Sabah's population. They are divided into dozens of ethnic groups, but they share some general patterns of living and culture. Until the 20th century, most practiced traditional beliefs, but many have become Christian or Muslim. The "other" category includes Malaysians of, inter alia, European and Middle Eastern descent. Population distribution is uneven, with some 15 million residents concentrated in the lowlands of peninsular Malaysia, an area slightly smaller than the state of Michigan.


  • Malaysia Geography
  • Malaysia Government
  • Malaysia Economy
  • Malaysia History