Marshall Islands People, Population, Religion and Nationality


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Marshall Islands People

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

  • Marshall Islands Geography
  • Marshall Islands Government
  • Marshall Islands Economy
  • Marshall Islands History

    Nationality: Noun and adjective--Marshallese.
    Population (2002 est..): 56,639. (Figures not adjusted for migration to the U.S., where Marshallese colonies of unknown size exist.)
    Annual growth rate (1999): 1.5%%.
    Ethnic groups: 90% Marshallese, 10% estimated U.S., Filipino, Chinese, New Zealander, Australian, other Micronesian (FSM), Kiribati, Korean, and Fijian.
    Religions: Christian, mostly Protestant.
    Languages: Two major Marshallese dialects from Malayo-Polynesian family; English;
    Education: Literacy (2002)--98%(officially based on question, “Do you read the bible?”).
    Health: Infant mortality rate--(1999) 3.7%, under age 5 mortality rate 4.8%. Life expectancy--men 65.7 yrs.; women 69.4 yrs.
    Work force (14,677: 69,1% employed, 30.9% unemployed): Services, including government--64%; construction and services--18%; agriculture and fishing--18%.

    People of the Marshall Islands
    The Marshall Islands is comprised of 29 atolls and five major islands, which form two parallel groups -- the "Ratak" (sunrise) chain and the "Ralik"(sunset) chain. Two-thirds of the nation's population lives in Majuro and Ebeye. The outer islands are sparsely populated due to lack of employment opportunities and economic development.

    The Marshallese are of Micronesian origin, which is traced to a combination of peoples who emigrated from Southeast Asia in the remote past. The matrilineal Marshallese culture revolves around a complex system of clans and lineages tied to land ownership.

    Virtually all Marshallese are Christian, most of them Protestant. Other Christian denominations include Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Mormon, Salvation Army, and Jehovah's Witness. A small Bahai community also exists.

    Marshallese is the official language. English is spoken by most of the adult urban population. However, both the Nitijela (parliament) and national radio use Marshallese.

    The public school system provides education through grade 12, although admission to secondary school is selective. The elementary program employs a bilingual/bicultural curriculum. English is introduced in the fourth grade. There are two post-secondary institutions in the Marshall Islands -- the 2-year College of the Marshall Islands and the pre-university branch of the University of the South Pacific.


  • Marshall Islands Geography
  • Marshall Islands Government
  • Marshall Islands Economy
  • Marshall Islands History