POPULATION AND LANGUAGE OF FIJI ISLANDS

Population of Fiji



The original people are called “Lapita people” after the characteristic type of a fine pottery they produced, remnants of which have been found in practically all the islands of the Pacific, east of New Guinea. They first populated the islands about 35 centuries ago. Since then, Fiji has been through quite a few settlement processes.



The estimated population of Fiji on December 31, 2004 stood at 840,201. Of the total 456,207 were Fijians, 320, 659 were Indians and 63,335 were others. For the last two officials Census there was a net increase of 57,280 persons. Fijian numbers had increased by 65,694 persons. Indian numbers registered a decrease of 0.3 per cent as a result of high international emigration, and lower rate of natural increase. The annual average growth rate between the Censuses was 0.8%.



Fiji has a relatively young population with about 53% or 413,100 persons below the age of 25 years. This percentage has declined from the 1986 figure of 58.7%. The economically active population in 1986 was 62% of the total population or 441,852 persons and in 1996 it was estimated at 67% or 523,428 persons. The number of people aged 60 years and over was estimated at 47,027 persons or 6% of the total projected population in 1996. This figure has risen from 4.9% or 35,395 in 1986. The dependency ratio in 1986 was 71 but declined to 70 in 1990 and 68 in 1996. This means that the percentage of people dependent on those who are working is decreasing.



Fiji is becoming increasingly urbanized as internal migration to towns and cities continue. Extension of urban boundaries has also contributed to this trend. By 1996, some 46 per cent of the population was living in urban areas, up from 39 per cent in 1986. Around 41 per cent of Fijians and Rotumans now live in urban areas. The urban population has grown at 2.6 per cent per year between 1986 and 1996 and the rural population has been shrinking by 0.5 per year. The Capital Suva is the most populated city with 167,975 persons followed by Lautoka with 43,274 and Nadi at 30,884. Apart from the indigenous Fijians, Fiji has accepted many other nationalities to its shores - Indians, Europeans, Chinese and other Pacific islanders.



Language

English is the official language. However, Fijian and Hindi are also taught in schools as part of the school curriculum. Indigenous Fijians have their own dialects and you can tell which province one comes from, from their dialect. Indians, too have their own, and generally speak a distinctive Fiji-Hindi dialect. This is not the same as the one spoken in India.