Madagascar Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Madagascar Country Overview

Where is Madagascar located? The Republic of Madagascar is one of the largest island states in the world in terms of area. The former French colony is located in the Indian Ocean. On the time zone map, Madagascar is located in a time zone called East Africa Time (EAT) with a standard difference of 3 hours from official world time (UTC). Madagascar is three hours ahead of universal time (UTC+3). In summer it is unusual to make a time shift to daylight saving time.

Madagascar National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Madagascar is 26,955,737, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 26,955,737
Population growth rate 2.39%
Birth rate 31.60 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 64.85 years
Men 63.45 years
Women 66.29 years
Age structure
0-14 years 39.55%
15-64 years 57.10%
65 years and above 3.35%
Median age 19.40 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.00
Population density 45.92 residents per kmĀ²
Urbanization 26.50%
99% Malagasy (Malagasy); Minorities of Comorians, French, Indians and others
Indigenous religions 52%, Christians 41%, Muslims 7%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.521
HDI ranking 162nd out of 194

People in Madagascar

The residents of Madagascar are the Malagasy people. They are made up of different cultures from Southeast Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East. However, Indonesia’s cultural influence is greatest in Madagascar. This can be seen in the language, which is shaped by an Indonesian dialect and is called Malagasy, and most importantly, rice. Madagascans like to eat rice at any time of the day.

18 ethnic groups, are recognized by the state in Madagascar. The largest group is that of the Merina. This includes 25 out of 100 people. By the end of the 19th century they also had their own state in Madagascar and suppressed the remaining groups. This is followed by the Betsimisaraka with a share of 15 percent and the Betsileo with 12 percent. There are also many other different groups.

Languages in Madagascar

Some French or Comoran people also live in Madagascar. In addition to Malagasy, many Malagasy people also speak French, the language of the former colonial rulers.

Religions in Madagascar

The Christian religion came into the country with the missionaries and spread. Great emphasis is placed on celebrating the Christian holidays. But the original religions also play a major role in Madagascar. This includes, above all, the cultivation of ancestral and death cults.