Myanmar (Burma)


53.9 million (2015)


26% of the population (2013 - estimate only)


USD 1,161 (2015)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years (2014)

Myanmar (previously known as Burma) used to be a fairly closed country run by an authoritarian military dictatorship. Recent changes have transitioned it to a fledgling democracy headed by a President. Htin Kyaw.  Htin Kyaw came to power in April 2016 after peaceful elections.

Myanmar is home to more than 135 different ethnic groups, with Burmese the dominant group. A number of ethnic groups have been in conflict with the government for several decades, although a tentative peace currently holds.

Economically, Myanmar is a land of opportunity, after being a closed economy for so long. Agricultural and mining resources are as yet untapped and its location gives it the potential to become a regional hub.

While the future could be bright for the people of Myanmar, there is a long way to go. Most social indicators are low – for example one-third of children under five are malnourished. While officially poverty is at 26% of the population, World Bank analysis indicates it could be as high as 37.5%. Inequality between the Burmese and other ethnic groups is also high, with ethnic groups much more prone to vulnerability and poverty.  (NB official poverty figures for Myanmar do not exist – these are estimates only)

Data sourced from the World Bank and United Nations sites, December 2016


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