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People and Society






Fiji became independent in 1970 after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president but in January 2007 became interim prime minister. Since taking power BAINIMARAMA has neutralized his opponents, crippled Fiji's democratic institutions, and refused to hold elections.


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People And Society

Noun Fijian(s)
Adjective Fijian

Ethnic groups
Fijian 57.3% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 37.6%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 3.9% (European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese) (2007 census)

English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani

Protestant 55.4% (Methodist 34.6%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.9%, Anglican 0.8%, other 10.4%), Hindu 27.9%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other or unspecified 0.3%, none 0.7% (2007 census)

Population World Ranking: 161
890,057 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
28.9% (male 130,409/female 124,870)
15-64 years
65.9% (male 297,071/female 284,643)
65 years and over
5.2% (male 21,187/female 24,945) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 27.2 years
Male 27 years
Female 27.4 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 137
0.766% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 83
20.7 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 167
5.93 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 202
-7.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 52% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
1.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
SUVA (capital) 174,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.85 male(s)/female
Total population
1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 129
26 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 141
Total 10.73 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 11.82 deaths/1,000 live births
9.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 136
Total population 71.59 years
Male 69 years
Female 74.32 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 81
2.58 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 32
9.7% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.453 physicians/1,000 population (2003)

Hospital bed density
2.08 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 123
0.1% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 143
Fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 139
Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 12
23.9% (2004)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 26
6.2% of GDP (2004)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 93.7%
Male 95.5%
Female 91.9% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 13 years
Male 13 years
Female 13 years (2005)


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Yale Eastern

Batiki Eastern

Wai Ko Nggilo Northern

Kandomo Island Western

Matanivanua Bay Western

Love Creek Northern

Waimbata Creek Northern
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