Mauritius: People & Society#

Population1,348,242 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian
Ethnic groupsIndo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%
LanguagesCreole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language, which is spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)
ReligionsHindu 48.5%, Roman Catholic 26.3%, Muslim 17.3%, other Christian 6.4%, other 0.6%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)
Demographic profileMauritius has transitioned from a country of high fertility and high mortality rates in the 1950s and mid-1960s to one with among the lowest population growth rates in the developing world today. After World War II, Mauritius’ population began to expand quickly due to increased fertility and a dramatic drop in mortality rates as a result of improved health care and the eradication of malaria. This period of heightened population growth – reaching about 3% a year – was followed by one of the world’s most rapid birth rate declines. The total fertility rate fell from 6.2 children per women in 1963 to 3.2 in 1972 – largely the result of improved educational attainment, especially among young women, accompanied by later marriage and the adoption of family planning methods. The family planning programs’ success was due to support from the government and eventually the traditionally pronatalist religious communities, which both recognized that controlling population growth was necessary because of Mauritius’ small size and limited resources. Mauritius’ fertility rate has consistently been below replacement level since the late 1990s, a rate that is substantially lower than nearby countries in southern Africa. With no indigenous population, Mauritius’ ethnic mix is a product of more than two centuries of European colonialism and continued international labor migration. Sugar production relied on slave labor mainly from Madagascar, Mozambique, and East Africa from the early 18th century until its abolition in 1835, when slaves were replaced with indentured Indians. Most of the influx of indentured labor – peaking between the late 1830s and early 1860 – settled permanently creating massive population growth of more than 7% a year and reshaping the island’s social and cultural composition. While Indians represented about 12% of Mauritius’ population in 1837, they and their descendants accounted for roughly two-thirds by the end of the 19th century. Most were Hindus, but the majority of the free Indian traders were Muslims. Mauritius again turned to overseas labor when its success in clothing and textile exports led to a labor shortage in the mid-1980s. Clothing manufacturers brought in contract workers (increasingly women) from China, India, and, to a lesser extent Bangladesh and Madagascar, who worked longer hours for lower wages under poor conditions and were viewed as more productive than locals. Downturns in the sugar and textile industries in the mid-2000s and a lack of highly qualified domestic workers for Mauritius’ growing services sector led to the emigration of low-skilled workers and a reliance on skilled foreign labor. Since 2007, Mauritius has pursued a circular migration program to enable citizens to acquire new skills and savings abroad and then return home to start businesses and to invest in the country’s development.
Age structure0-14 years: 20.44% (male 140,808/female 134,826)
15-24 years: 15.06% (male 102,593/female 100,465)
25-54 years: 43.87% (male 295,794/female 295,719)
55-64 years: 11.37% (male 72,733/female 80,621)
65 years and over: 9.25% (male 50,888/female 73,795) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 40.6%
youth dependency ratio: 27.2%
elderly dependency ratio: 13.4%
potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 34.8 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 35.8 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.61% (2016 est.)
Birth rate13.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 39.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationPORT LOUIS (capital) 135,000 (2014)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate53 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 10 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.6 years
male: 72.2 years
female: 79.2 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.75 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Health expenditures4.8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.62 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density3.4 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.8% of population
total: 99.9% of population
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.2% of population
total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 93.9% of population
rural: 92.6% of population
total: 93.1% of population
urban: 6.1% of population
rural: 7.4% of population
total: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.88% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,200 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths400 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate18.8% (2014)
Education expenditures5% of GDP (2015)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.6%
male: 92.9%
female: 88.5% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25.1%
male: 20.1%
female: 32.6% (2014 est.)