Demographics of Brunei

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

Like neighboring countries, Brunei is mostly Malay. Many cultural and linguistic differences make Brunei Malays distinct from the larger Malay populations in nearby Malaysia and Indonesia, even though they are ethnically related and share the Muslim religion.

Brunei has a hereditary nobility with the title Pengiran these are, more often than not, related to the Sultan by blood. The Sultan can award to commoners the title Pehin, the equivalent of a life peerage awarded in the United Kingdom. The Sultan also can award his subjects the Dato, the equivalent of a knighthood in the United Kingdom, and Datin, the equivalent of a damehood.

Bruneians adhere to the practice of using complete full names with all titles, including the title Haji (for men) or Hajjah (for women) for those who have made the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Many Brunei Malay women wear the tudong, a traditional head covering. Men wear the songkok, a traditional Malay cap. Men who have completed the Haj wear a white songkok.

The requirements to attain Brunei citizenship include passing tests in Malay culture, customs, and language. Stateless permanent residents of Brunei are given International Certificates of Identity, which allow them to travel overseas. The majority of Brunei's Chinese are permanent residents, and many are stateless.

Petroleum wealth allows the Brunei Government to provide the population with one of Asia's finest health care systems. The Brunei Medical and Health Department introduced the region's first government "flying doctor service" in early 1965. Malaria has been eradicated, and cholera is virtually nonexistent. There are three general hospitals--in Bandar Seri Begawan, Tutong, and Kuala Belait--and there are numerous health clinics throughout the country.

Education starts with preschool, followed by 6 years of primary education and up to 6 years of secondary education. Nine years of education are mandatory. Most of Brunei's college students attend universities and other institutions abroad, but approximately 2,542 study at the University of Brunei Darussalam. Opened in 1985, the university has a faculty of over 300 instructors and is located on a sprawling campus at Tungku, overlooking the South China Sea.

The official language is Malay, but English is widely understood and used in business. Other languages spoken are several Chinese dialects, Iban, and a number of native dialects. Islam is the official religion, but religious freedom is guaranteed under the constitution.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook


372,361 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.6% (male 54,342/female 52,084)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 134,908/female 119,814)
65 years and over: 3% (male 5,301/female 5,912) (2005 est.)

Median age

Total: 27.04 years
Male: 27.63 years
Female: 26.4 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate

1.9% (2005 est.)

Birth rate

19.01 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate

3.42 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate

3.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 12.61 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 15.93 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 74.8 years
Male: 72.36 years
Female: 77.36 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.3 children born/woman (2005 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)


Noun: Bruneian(s)
Adjective: Bruneian

Ethnic groups

Malay 67%, Chinese 15%, indigenous 6%, other 12%


Muslim (official) 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs and other 10%


Malay (official), English, Chinese


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93.9%
Male: 96.3%
Female: 91.4% (2002)


Template:CIA WFB 2005