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.

Bordering Countries of Madagascar

According to abbreviationfinder, Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, and its borders are surrounded by four neighboring countries. Mozambique lies to the northwest, with Tanzania to the northeast. The Comoros Islands are to Madagascar’s east and Mauritius is to its south.

Mozambique shares a 740-mile border with Madagascar, making it the longest land border of any of Madagascar’s neighboring countries. It is a Portuguese-speaking nation with over 28 million people and a rich cultural history that dates back centuries. The terrain of Mozambique is mostly flat lowlands, although it does have some mountains in its western region. Much of its economy revolves around agriculture and natural resources such as coal, titanium ore and hydropower.

Tanzania is located northeast of Madagascar, sharing a 226-mile border with the island nation. It is home to over 56 million people who speak Swahili as their official language. Tanzania has vast areas of plains and plateaus as well as two large mountain ranges – Kilimanjaro in north and Usambara Mountains in east – both rising above 10,000 feet above sea level. The country’s economy relies heavily on agriculture but also has significant amounts of minerals such as gold and diamond reserves that contribute significantly to its GDP growth rate each year.

The Comoros Islands lie just off Madagascar’s eastern coast and comprise three islands: Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Mohéli which together form an independent state known as Union des Comores (the Union of Comoros). The islands are home to about 830 thousand people who mainly speak French or Arabic alongside local languages such as Shikomor or Shingazidja Comorian dialects. Their economy largely depends on agriculture but also benefits from tourism due to their stunning beaches and tropical climate conditions throughout much of the year.

Mauritius lies south of Madagascar across a channel known as Bassas da India (Indian Basin). This small island nation covers just 790 square miles but boasts one million inhabitants speaking English, French or Creole languages – all official languages within Mauritius itself. Its main industries include sugarcane production, tourism, textile manufacturing and financial services which help maintain its high per capita income rate compared to other African countries nearby.

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 km²
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.