ICC NOTE: The long awaited census data for Myanmar’s religious demographics will be released on July 21 after months of delays. Due to the controversial nature of the report and the government transition, it was determined to be prudent to wait until tensions had returned to a manageable state. The greatest question to be answered with the report are the current figures of Muslims living in the country compared to the Buddhist majority. Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted by both the government and Buddhists as they were not allowed to self identify as Rohingya in the census. The Christian Chin population will have an opportunity to determine the exact number of tribal groups within their demographic allowing for questions to be finally answered.
7/13/2016 Myanmar (Myanmar Times) – The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population will release sensitive census data on Myanmar’s religious make-up on July 21 and plans to make public corresponding figures on ethnic populations within six months, according to a senior ministry official.
“We will release the numbers on religion and we have already prepared to release it. We had planned to release these remaining data since the previous government, but it coincided with the transition period,” U Myint Kyaing said.
While results for most of the 2014 census were released last year, the breakdown of Myanmar’s religious and ethnic composition was withheld due to their contentious natures. In the case of religious data, concerns focus on what the data may reveal about the size of the country’s Muslim population relative to that of the majority Buddhists as tensions between the two groups linger.
Myanmar’s Muslim population officially stood at 4 percent of the nationwide total in 1983, the same proportion as a census conducted a decade earlier, though the actual figure then and now is believed to be higher.