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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Mauritius, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. A majority of the republic's residents are the descendants of people from the Indian subcontinent. Mauritius also contains substantial populations from continental Africa, Madagascar, France, Great Britain, and China, among other places.

Contents

Ancestry

The Indo-Mauritians (when the ethnic groups are combined) and Creoles (of African descent) are the predominant population. There are approximately 30,000 Mauritians of Chinese descent, from the Hakka, Mandarin, and Cantonese language groups. More than 90% of the Sino-Mauritian community are Roman Catholic[citation needed], the remainder are largely Buddhist.[1]

While there is a small population of British citizens living in Mauritius, most of whom have Mauritian nationality, few identify as being Mauritian. The term Anglo-Mauritian, a term which may include Mauritians living in the UK, is used unofficially.

Though the Franco-Mauritian group is small, it is the largest of the European ancestries on the island. They are usually upper-class citizens and form the wealthiest group of people on the island.

Small groups of foreign students from Europe or the Indian Ocean region are also present. Recent years have seen a steady flow of foreign workers into the textile industry (primarily Chinese women), the construction industry (primarily Indian workers), and harbour-related activities (primarily Taiwanese men). Immigration policy does not provoke much debate in Mauritius, and the relative economic stability of the island serves to attract foreign workers[citation needed].

Language

Picture from the 1950s of the Central Market, Port Louis, Mauritius.

The official language of Mauritius is English. All government administrative documents are therefore drawn up in English. Together with English, French is also used in instruction in the educational system. French, however, predominates in the media, both broadcast and printed as well as with business and in corporate affairs. Although English is the official language of the island, a majority of the population can speak French fluently. American and other English-language movies and TV programmes shown in Mauritius are conventionally dubbed into French.

The most widely-spoken language of the country is Mauritian Creole, which has close ties with French pronunciation, but with a few marked differences - Creole does not contain the post-alveolar fricatives and front rounded vowels that French does. Mauritian Creole is considered the native tongue of the country. Creole was the language used by the African slaves to communicate with their French masters. Today, Creole is used in everyday life by all Mauritians. When Franco-Mauritians engage in conversations with Creole speakers, French is more commonly employed than Creole.

Hindi and Urdu also has numerous speakers in the country, although both are used mainly by the Indian community. Several other languages including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi and dialects of Chinese, such as Cantonese, Hakka and Mandarin, are also spoken by significant parts of the population. The earliest builders brought by the French were the Tamils of Indian origin, who were employed to build Port Louis, the capital. Subsequently, around hundred years later, laborers from other parts of British India were brought by the British. Arabic is taught in Mosques around Mauritius.

Religion

The religions present in the republic are Hinduism (52%), Roman Catholicism (28%), Islam (16.6%), Buddhism (2.5%), Adventist Protestantism (2%) and Sikhism (0.3%). [2]

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

Demographics of Mauritius, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Population: Island of Mauritius only: 1,227,078 (December 2007 estimate) [3]

Age structure: 0-14 years: 23% (male 148,573/female 143,859) 15-64 years: 70.1% (male 443,968/female 449,670) 65 years and over: 6.9% (male 35,269/female 52,850) (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.89% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 16.66 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.83 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.98 years
male: 66.98 years
female: 75.04 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.02 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian

Ethnic groups: Indian 68%, Creole 27%, Chinese 3%, French 2%

Religions: Hinduism 52%, Christianity 28.3% (Roman Catholicism 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Islam 16.6%, other 3.1%

Languages: English (Official), French, Mauritian Creole, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bojpoori, Hakka.

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 78.8% (1995 est.)

References

  • Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (1998), Common Denominators: Nation-building and Compromise in Mauritius, Berg Publishers, ISBN 9781859739594 
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