1. Introduction

Malaysia’s human geography reflects a country that is in transition to a developed country. It is a diverse country, with a strong economy. Population growth remains high, but the poverty rate of the country is very low. It is one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia.

Photo: Malaysia’s human geography has many characteristics of a developed country (Creative Commons: Ah Wei).

2. Ethnic Groups and Language

Malay 50%
Chinese 23%
Indigenous 12%
Indian 7%
Other 8%

Chart: Ethnic Groups of Malaysia

Ethnic Groups: Malaysia is a moderately diverse country.  The Malay people represent half of the population (50%). They are followed by the Chinese (23%), indigenous groups (12%), Indian (7%) and other groups (8%).

Language: The official language of the country is Bahasa Malaysia. Other languages spoken include English, various Chinese dialects, Tamil, and Thai.

3. Religions

Islam 61%
Buddhist 20%
Christianity 9%
Other 10%

Chart: Religions of Malaysia

Religion: The majority religion of Burma is Islam (61%). It is followed by Buddhism (20%), Christianity (9%) and other religious groups (10%).

4. Demographics

Malaysia 127%
World 110%
USA 74%

Chart: Population Growth Rate Index (World = 100%)

The population of Malaysia is about 31 million people. It is the 42nd most populated country in the world. About three-fourths of the population (75%) live in urban areas. Kuala Lampur is the capital city with a population of about 6.8 million people.

The population growth rate is about 1.4% a year. This is almost twice that of the United States (0.81%) and slightly more than the world (1.1%). The country has a moderately high population growth rate. Life expectancy is 75 years of age. This is in the middle range of the scale in comparison to other countries.

5. Economy

Chart: Economic Sectors

Only about a tenth of the labor force works in the agricultural sector (11%). The service sector accounts for 53% of the workforce. The manufacturing sector employs about 36% of the work force. Less than 4% of the population lives in poverty.

Major agricultural products are wood and wood products, palm oil, and rubber. Important minerals are petroleum and liquefied natural gas. Major industries are semiconductors and electronic equipment, textiles, chemicals, and solar panels.

6. Economic Development

Malaysia 26300 $US
World 13100 $US
USA 52800 $US

Chart: per capita GDP

Malaysia’s per capita gross domestic product is $26,300. The per capita GDP lies in the moderate range. This is higher than the world’s average ($13,100) but lower than the USA’s ($52,800). Malaysia is an advanced developing country.

7. Political

The official name of Malaysia is simply Malaysia.

The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia has a federal constitutional monarchy. The country achieved independence from Britain in 1957.

8. Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.

9. Bibliography

Geography of Malaysia, Wonderful Malaysia.


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2 comments on "Malaysia’s Human Geography"

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Ronand Abella

Sa pagyuyug natin sa mapa ito siya ay nag papakita ng datga asia.At sila ay nag papatuloy lumalakas habang panahom.Sila dawAng mas maraming relhiyon.

Ronand Abella

The poverty of Malaysia is very low.And it is a develop country.The population of Malay is 50% and it represents half of the population of the country.61% of Islam religion in the Malaysia.