Demography of Malaysia

Malaysia is quite a multi-racial country with a population so big that there are 63.7 people every km . Therefore, head counting or the examination of the demography of Malaysia is very significant. As of July 2006 the demography of Malaysia was 24,385,858 , including many ethnic groups with the politically dominant Malays making up the majority of 52% of the population.


The Malaysians originated in Yunnan of Southern China and migrated to South East Asian countries where they split into several racial subgroups. In the beginning they were Hindus and Buddhists but latter converted to Islam like that of Indonesia. The Malays are, according to Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution , Muslims. These people, plus the peoples of Malayo-Polynesian origins like the Kadazandusun, Iban, Dayak, Melanau, etc., concentrated in Sabah and Sarawak are together referred to as the 'bumiputra' .

Other Malaysians are the descendents of Europe, Middle East, Cambodia , Thai and Vietnam. Europeans and Eurasians include British who colonized and settled in Malaysia and some Portuguese , and the rest of the Middle Easterners are Arabs . Besides, a small number of Vietnamese and Kampucheans settled in Malaysia as Vietnam War refugees leading to an uneven distribution of population with some 20 million residents concentrated on the Malay Peninsula . About 30% of the population is of Chinese descendent and about 8% of the Malaysians of Indian descendent.

Recent Growth

Due to the rise in labour intensive industries, the demography of Malaysia has undergone quite a change. It has about 10 to 20% foreign workers, mostly Indonesian . The state of Sabah itself has nearly 25% of its 3 million population listed as illegal foreign workers in the last census. The ' Orang Asli ' are the native people of Malaysian Peninsular, with an estimated population of over 60,000 . Maximum of the Indians are from Tamil including Malayalis, Punjabis and Gujaratis . There are also diverse non-Malay peoples who are designated as indigenous, frequently in East Malaysia making up about 7% of the population.

According to the Malaysian demography, about 32.6% are below the age of 14 years , 62.6% are between 15-64 years and 4.7% are over 65 years , with a population growth rate of 1.78%.


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