Demographics of Mauritius

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

Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. A majority of the republic's residents are the descendants of people from the Indian subcontinent. Mauritius also contains substantial populations from continental Africa, Madagascar, France, Great Britain, and China, among other places.

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Ancestry

The Indo-Mauritians (when the ethnic groups are combined) and Creoles (of African descent) are the predominant population. There are approximately 30,000 Mauritians of Chinese descent, from the Hakka and Cantonese language groups. More than 90% of the Sino-Mauritian community are Roman Catholic[citation needed], the remainder are largely Buddhist.[1]

While there is a small population of British citizens living in Mauritius, most of whom have Mauritian nationality, few identify as being Mauritian. The term Anglo-Mauritian, a term which may include Mauritians living in the UK, is used unofficially.

Though the Franco-Mauritian group is small, it is the largest of the European ancestries on the island. They are usually upper-class citizens and form the wealthiest group of people on the island.

Small groups of foreign students from Europe or the Indian Ocean region are also present. Recent years have seen a steady flow of foreign workers into the textile industry (primarily Chinese women), the construction industry (primarily Indian workers), and harbour-related activities (primarily Taiwanese men). Immigration policy does not provoke much debate in Mauritius, and the relative economic stability of the island serves to attract foreign workers[citation needed].

Language

Mauritian Créole, which is spoken by 90 percent of the population, is considered to be the native language of the country and is used most often in informal settings.[2] It was developed in the 18th century by slaves who used a pidgin language to communicate with each other as well as with their French masters, who did not understand the various African languages. The pidgin evolved with later generations to become a casual language.[3] Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole due to its close ties with French pronunciation and vocabulary.[4] Mauritian Creole is similar in pronunciation to French, but with a few marked differences - Creole does not contain the post-alveolar fricatives and front rounded vowels that French does. The Mauritian Constitution makes no mention of an official language and its one million citizens speak either Mauritian Creole, a French-based creole, English or French.

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