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Population of Myanmar


Population: 55,167,330 (July 2013 est.). Country comparison to the world: 24 note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.


Age structure: A) 0-14 years: 26.7 percent (male 7,514,233/female 7,227,893); B) 15-24 years: 18.6 percent (male 5,183,653/female 5,060,385); C) 25-54 years: 42.8 percent (male 11,724,297/female 11,879,420); D) 55-64 years: 6.7 percent (male 1,754,397/female 1,963,051); E) 65 years and over: 5.2 percent (male 1,244,758/female 1,615,243) (2013 est.)

Median age: total: 27.2 years; male: 26.7 years; female: 27.8 years (2012 est.)

Population density (people/sq km) (2005):65.2. Burma is one of the least densely populated countries in Asia having a population of 40 million that is concentrated in the arable plains bordering the Irrawaddy and Salween rivers.

Languages in Myanmar

There are hundreds of different languages and dialects spoken in Myanmar. According to the Myanmar government there are approximately 107 languages spoken in Burma “relating to the separateness of ethnic groups.”

Each ethnic groups speaks a distinct language or dialect. Most of these languages are classified as Tai (various dialects spoken in the Shan states), Mon-Khmer (spoken in southern Burma) and some Indian languages spoken in the western frontier. Some minorities speak Burmese and some don't.

According to the Myanmar government: “Burma is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in Southeast Asia having more that 100 indigenous languages spoken within its borders, although Burmese is the common and official language.

Three ethnic groups, the Mon, the Pyu, and the Burmese have made the greatest contribution to the development of the arts and culture of Burma and they all settled in the central plains along the middle and lower reaches of the Irrawaddy or Salween.” 

According to Countries and Their Cultures: “A few regional dialects of Burmese are associated with subgroups. Closely related Southern Burmish languages include Arakanese, Intha, and Taungyo (or Tavoyan).

Burmese is spoken as a second language by most educated members of other ethnic groups, but some of those groups have little contact with the national language.

Many educated urban residents speak English as a second language, but English is not widely spoken among the population as a whole. The teaching of English in schools was banned from 1966 to 1980.

Shan is as an important second language for many ethnic groups in Shan State, while Jingpho is spoken as a second language by many smaller ethnic groups in Kachin State. [Source: Countries and Their Cultures ]

Even though Burma was a once a British colony time, less people in Myanmar speak English than in other former British colonies. Even so, enough people in the major tourist areas speak it so you shouldn't have much trouble being understood. Off the beaten path is another story.

In Myanmar schools it is often forbidden to teach in languages other than Burmese. In the early years after independence, Burma had an extensive network of missionary schools that employed foreign teachers that children English and other subjects.

In the 1960s, Ne Win decreed that English was the language of colonizers and should no longer be taught in schools. Foreign teachers were kicked out of the country.