Brunei - Demographics

Demographics

The population of Brunei in July 2011 was 401,890 of which 76% live in urban areas. The average life expectancy is 76.37 years. In 2004, 66.3% of the population were Malay, 11.2% are Chinese, 3.4% are Indigenous, with smaller groups making up the rest.

The official language of Brunei is Malay. There are calls to expand the use of the language in Brunei. The principal spoken language is Melayu Brunei (Brunei Malay). Brunei Malay is rather divergent from standard Malay and the rest of the Malay dialects, being about 84% cognate with standard Malay, and is mostly mutually unintelligible with it. English and Chinese are also widely spoken and there is a relatively large expatriate community. Bahasa Rojak, often spoken by the public and on some popular radio shows, is known as a "mixed language" and considered by some to be detrimental to normal Malay. Other languages spoken include Kedayan, Tutong, Murut, Dusun and Iban.

Islam is the official religion of Brunei, and two-thirds of the population adheres to Islam. Other faiths practiced are Buddhism (13%, mainly by the Chinese) and Christianity (10%). Freethinkers, mostly Chinese, form about 7% of the population. Although most of them practice some form of religion with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, they prefer to present themselves as having professed no religion officially, hence regarded as atheists in official censuses. Followers of indigenous religions are about 2% of the population.

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