What is Myanmar’s Population and Ethnic Makeup?

The Myanmar government officially recognizes 135 ethnic groups. That being said, the vast majority of Burmese people are ethnically Bamar. The rest of the population is subdivided into Shan, Karen, Rakhine, and Mon ethnic groups. The tiny remaining percentage is 3 percent Chinese, 2 percent Indian, and 5 percent other. All of these numbers are rough estimates — Myanmar does not have accurate or up-to-date census data.

Around 69 percent of the Myanmar population is Bamar, which is an ethnic group with a mix of East Asian and Indian origin. Bamar is by far the largest and most culturally dominant ethnic group in Myanmar.

The Shan people are the next-largest ethnic group, and they make up 9 percent of the population. They are believed to have originated in China. Many Shan speak their own language in addition to Burmese.

The Karen account for 7 percent of the population. They originated in Thailand.

Rohingya people make up 4 percent.

Just 2 percent of the Burmese population is Mon.

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