Browse the information below for demographic information on Oman, including population,
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Nationality: Noun--Oman. Adjective--Omani.
Population (2003 est.): 2.8 million.
Annual growth rate (2002 est.): 2%.
Ethnic groups: Arab, Baluchi, East African (Zanzabari), South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi).
Religions: Ibadhi, 75%; Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu, Christian.
Languages: Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Swahili, Hindi and Indian dialects.
Education: Literacy--approx. 80% (total population).
Health (2003): Infant mortality rate---21.01/1,000. Life expectancy--72.5.
Work force (920,000): Agriculture and fishing--50%.
People of Oman
About 50% of the population lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region, and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz. Some 600,000 expatriates live in Oman, most of whom are guest workers from South Asia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Philippines.
Since 1970, the government has given high priority to education to develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. In 1986, Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened. Other post secondary institutions include a law school, technical college, banking institute, teachers training college, and health sciences institute. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad.
Nine private colleges exist, providing 2-year post secondary diplomas. Since 1999, the government has embarked on reforms in higher education designed to meet the needs of a growing population, only a small percentage of which are currently admitted to higher education institutions. Under the reformed system, four public regional universities will be created, and incentives are provided by the government to promote the upgrading of the existing nine private colleges and the creation of other degree-granting private colleges.