Demographics of the Marshall Islands

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of the Marshall Islands, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

The people of the Marshall Islands are of Micronesian origin, which is traced to a combination of peoples who emigrated from Southeast Asia in the remote past. The matrilineal Marshallese culture revolves around a complex system of clans and lineages tied to land ownership.

Virtually all Marshallese are Christian, most of them Protestant (see Religion in the Marshall Islands). Other Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Salvation Army, and Jehovah's Witness. There is also a small presence of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í Faith.

Both Marshallese and English are official languages. Marshallese is spoken by most of the urban population. Both the Nitijela (parliament) and national radio use Marshallese.

The public school system provides education through grade 12, although admission to secondary school is selective. The elementary program employs a bilingual/bicultural curriculum. English is introduced in the first grade. There is one post-secondary institution in the Marshall Islands—the College of the Marshall Islands.

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

Demographics of the Marshall Islands, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.


68,500 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure[edit]

0-14 years: 50% (male 17,204; female 16,521)
15-64 years: 48% (male 16,826; female 16,111)
65 years and over: 2% (male 693; female 771) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

2.25% (2006 est.)

Birth rate[edit]

45.17 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate[edit]

6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate[edit]

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio[edit]

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate[edit]

40.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

total population: 65.5 years
male: 63.72 years
female: 67.36 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate[edit]

6.61 children born/woman (2000 est.)


noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese

Ethnic groups[edit]



Christianity: Protestant, Catholic, Assembly of God, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon (mostly Protestant) (see Religion in the Marshall Islands)


Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
English (official), widely spoken as a second language


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93%
male: 100%
female: 88% (1980 est.)

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.