Full index of Country Studies-Madagascar
Population: July 1994 estimate 13,427,758. Annual growth rate 3.19 percent in 1994. Density 2.4 per square kilometer in 1994.
Ethnic Groups: Some twenty ethnic groups of which principal ones are central highlanders (Merina and related Betsileo) and côtiers of mixed Arab, African, MalayoIndonesian ancestry. Other groups are Comorans, French, IndoPakistanis , and Chinese.
Languages: Malagasy belonging to Malayo-Polynesian language family; French also used extensively.
Religion: Estimated 55 percent hold indigenous beliefs; 40 percent Christian, evenly divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants; 5 percent Muslim.
Education and Literacy: Education compulsory for children ages six to fourteen; higher education available through University of Madagascar with six campuses. Literacy estimated at 80 percent in 1991.
Health: Economic decline has caused deterioration of medical services; 35 percent of population lacked adequate access to health services in early 1990s; infant mortality 114 per 1,000 in 1991. Major diseases malaria, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and leprosy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Traditional medicine popular especially in rural areas.
Data as of August 1994
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