In 2019, Brunei had a population density of 74 residents
per km2. About 3/4 live in coastal towns and
villages, and the urban population is 78 percent. The rural
population is concentrated mainly to the river valleys and
to the coast. The forested hinterland is sparsely populated.
The majority of Brunei's population belongs to indigenous
peoples, bumiputera. The country's constitution
defines the Belait, Bisaya, Dusun, Kedayan, Murut and Tutong
ethnic groups, which, in addition to Brunei (Barunai or
Malay), are included in the bumiputera category. Overall,
they make up 66 percent of the country's population. About
11 percent are Chinese, which in turn are divided into
several dialect groups (hockey, Cantonese, chinese, etc.).
While bumiputans are largely Muslim, the Chinese are
Countryaah, Brunei also has many seasonal workers and immigrants,
especially in the oil industry and the service sector,
including from Thailand and the Philippines. The largest
part of the population lives in the district of
Brunei-Muara, where the capital is located. In the sparsely
populated inland, there are a number of minorities, which
together make up 6 percent of the total population. The most
important groups include ibanas, kelabites and bajau. They
base their finances on burning, hunting and gathering and
have often maintained their traditional religion. There are
also a few hundred individuals of the pen group, which feed
on the collection of jungle products.
The official language is Malay, which in its local form
is spoken by two thirds of the population. A small minority
speak other Austronesian languages. Different Chinese
varieties are spoken by about 10%. English is widely used.
Culturally, Arabic is of great importance. See also
Population and Ethnography above.
Islam (Sunni) is state religion. In religious matters,
the Sultan is assisted by an Islamic council. The majority
of the population, the Malays, belong to this state-carrying
Sunni Islam. The Chinese population are Buddhists,
Confucians or Daoists. The proportion of Christians amounts
to about 10% (mainly Roman Catholics and Anglicans). In some
areas of the interior, pre-Islamic tribal religions survive.