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The People of Malaysia

There are about 21 million (July 1997) people in Malaysia from diverse backgrounds/races. It can be said that in diversity there is unity because in Malaysia all the races, ethnic Malays and indigenous people (sons of the soil), as well as Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and many others work and live together.

Although the overall population density was estimated at about 62 people per sq km, this number is deceptive due to an unequal population distribution.  East Malaysia is much less populated (about seven times less) than West Malaysia.  The migration rate from rural to urban areas is very high due to low urban unemployment, with urban areas containing over half the total population.  Immigrants to Malaysia are attracted by the low unemployment rates, as well, particularly those from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Malaysians are warm and welcoming to visitors from other lands and enjoy conversing.  They have tremendous charm and are renowned for their hospitality and exceptional friendliness.   

28,274,729 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.4% (male 4,153,621/female 3,914,962)
15-64 years: 63.6% (male 8,210,373/female 8,143,043)
65 years and over: 5% (male 569,245/female 724,575) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.5 years
male: 26.4 years
female: 26.7 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.609% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
Birth rate:
21.41 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
Death rate:
4.92 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
Net migration rate:
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 139
note: does not reflect net flow of an unknown number of illegal immigrants from other countries in the region (2009 est.)
urban population: 70% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.069 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.5 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 121
male: 17.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.55 years
country comparison to the world: 112
male: 70.81 years
female: 76.48 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.7 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
80,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
3,900 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian
Ethnic groups:
Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)
Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8% (2000 census)
Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.7%
male: 92%
female: 85.4% (2000 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2007)
Education expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 90 supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
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