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East Asia/Southeast Asia :: Burma Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
  • Introduction :: Burma
  • Background field listing

    Various ethnic Burman and ethnic minority city-states or kingdoms occupied the present borders through the 19th century, and several minority ethnic groups continue to maintain independent armies and control territory within the country today, in opposition to the central government. Over a period of 62 years (1824-1886), Britain conquered Burma and incorporated all the groups within the country into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; in 1948, following major battles on its territory during World War II, Burma attained independence from the British Commonwealth. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In response to widespread civil unrest, NE WIN resigned in 1988, but within months the military crushed student-led protests and took power. Since independence, successive Burmese governments have fought on-and-off conflicts with armed ethnic groups seeking autonomy in the country’s mountainous border regions.

    Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory. Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient) AUNG SAN SUU KYI under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to November 2010. In late September 2007, the ruling junta brutally suppressed protests over increased fuel prices led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks, killing an unknown number of people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations - popularly referred to as the Saffron Revolution. In early May 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, which left over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. The 2008 constitution reserves 25% of its seats to the military. Legislative elections held in November 2010, which the NLD boycotted and many in the international community considered flawed, saw the successor ruling junta's mass organization, the Union Solidarity and Development Party garner over 75% of the contested seats.

    The national legislature convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. Although the vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN were former or current military officers, the government initiated a series of political and economic reforms leading to a substantial opening of the long-isolated country. These reforms included releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing a nationwide cease-fire with several of the country's ethnic armed groups, pursuing legal reform, and gradually reducing restrictions on freedom of the press, association, and civil society. At least due in part to these reforms, AUNG SAN SUU KYI was elected to the national legislature in April 2012 and became chair of the Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquility. Burma served as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2014. In a flawed but largely credible national legislative election in November 2015 featuring more than 90 political parties, the NLD again won a landslide victory. Using its overwhelming majority in both houses of parliament, the NLD elected HTIN KYAW, AUNG SAN SUU KYI’s confidant and long-time NLD supporter, as president. The new legislature created the position of State Counsellor, according AUNG SAN SUU KYI a formal role in the government and making her the de facto head of state. Burma's first credibly elected civilian government after more than five decades of military dictatorship was sworn into office on 30 March 2016. In March 2018, upon HTIN KYAW’s resignation, parliament selected WIN MYINT, another long-time ally of AUNG SAN SUU KYI’s, as president.

    Attacks in October 2016 and August 2017 on security forces in northern Rakhine State by members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya militant group, resulted in military crackdowns on the Rohingya population that reportedly caused thousands of deaths and human rights abuses. Following the August 2017 violence, over 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh as refugees. In November 2017, the US Department of State determined that the August 2017 violence constituted ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas. The UN has called for Burma to allow access to a Fact Finding Mission to investigate reports of human rights violations and abuses and to work with Bangladesh to facilitate repatriation of Rohingya refugees, and in September 2018 the International Criminal Court (ICC) determined it had jurisdiction to investigate reported human rights abuses against Rohingyas. Burma has rejected charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and has chosen not to work with the UN Fact Finding Mission or the ICC. In March 2018, President HTIN KYAW announced his voluntary retirement; NLD parliamentarian WIN MYINT was named by the parliament as his successor. In February 2019, the NLD announced it would establish a parliamentary committee to examine options for constitutional reform ahead of national the elections planned for 2020.

  • Geography :: Burma
  • Location field listing
    Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    22 00 N, 98 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Southeast Asia
    Area field listing
    total: 676,578 sq km
    land: 653,508 sq km
    water: 23,070 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than Texas
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 6,522 km
    border countries (5): Bangladesh 271 km, China 2129 km, India 1468 km, Laos 238 km, Thailand 2416 km
    Coastline field listing
    1,930 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    Climate field listing
    tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)
    Terrain field listing
    central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 702 m
    lowest point: Andaman Sea/Bay of Bengal 0 m
    highest point: Gamlang Razi 5,870 m
    Natural resources field listing
    petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower, arable land
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 19.2% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 16.5% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 48.2% (2011 est.)
    other: 32.6% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    22,950 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    population concentrated along coastal areas and in general proximity to the shores of the Irrawaddy River; the extreme north is relatively underpopulated
    Natural hazards field listing
    destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
    Environment - current issues field listing
    deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease; rapid depletion of the country's natural resources
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes; the north-south flowing Irrawaddy River is the country's largest and most important commercial waterway
  • People and Society :: Burma
  • Population field listing
    56,590,071 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Burmese
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Burman (Bamar) 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%

    note: government recognizes 135 indigenous ethnic groups

    Languages field listing
    Burmese (official)

    note: minority ethnic groups use their own languages

    Religions field listing
    Buddhist 87.9%, Christian 6.2%, Muslim 4.3%, Animist 0.8%, Hindu 0.5%, other 0.2%, none 0.1% (2014 est.)

    note: religion estimate is based on the 2014 national census, including an estimate for the non-enumerated population of Rakhine State, which is assumed to mainly affiliate with the Islamic faith; as of December 2019, Muslims probably make up less than 3% of Burma's total population due to the large outmigration of the Rohingya population since 2017

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 25.97% (male 7,524,869/female 7,173,333)
    15-24 years: 17% (male 4,852,122/female 4,769,412)
    25-54 years: 42.76% (male 11,861,971/female 12,337,482)
    55-64 years: 8.22% (male 2,179,616/female 2,472,681)
    65 years and over: 6.04% (male 1,489,807/female 1,928,778) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 46.5
    youth dependency ratio: 37.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 9.1
    potential support ratio: 10.9 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 29.2 years
    male: 28.3 years
    female: 30 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.85% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Birth rate field listing
    17 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Death rate field listing
    7.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Net migration rate field listing
    -1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Population distribution field listing
    population concentrated along coastal areas and in general proximity to the shores of the Irrawaddy River; the extreme north is relatively underpopulated
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 31.1% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.74% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030: PDF
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    5.332 million RANGOON (Yangon) (capital), 1.438 million Mandalay (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    25 years (2015/16 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    250 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 31.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 34.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 28.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 69.3 years
    male: 67.7 years
    female: 71.1 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.07 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    52.2% (2015/16)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 93% of population
    rural: 76.9% of population
    total: 81.8% of population
    unimproved: urban: 7% of population
    rural: 23.1% of population
    total: 18.2% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    4.7% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    0.86 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    1 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 87.6% of population
    rural: 67.6% of population
    total: 73.7% of population
    unimproved: urban: 12.4% of population
    rural: 32.4% of population
    total: 26.3% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.6% (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    240,000 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    7,700 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: very high (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis
    animal contact diseases: rabies
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    5.8% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    18.5% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Education expenditures field listing
    2.2% of GDP (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 75.6%
    male: 80%
    female: 71.8% (2016)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 11 years (2018)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 2%
    male: 1.8%
    female: 2.2% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
  • Government :: Burma
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Union of Burma
    conventional short form: Burma
    local long form: Pyidaungzu Thammada Myanma Naingngandaw (translated as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar)
    local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
    former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, Union of Myanmar
    etymology: both "Burma" and "Myanmar" derive from the name of the majority Burman (Bamar) ethnic group

    note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma and the current parliamentary government have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the US Government has not officially adopted the name

    Government type field listing
    parliamentary republic
    Capital field listing
    name: Rangoon (Yangon); note - Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital
    geographic coordinates: 16 48 N, 96 09 E
    time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: Rangoon (Yangon) is a compound of "yan" signifying "enemies" and "koun" meaning "to run out of" and so denoting "End of Strife"; Nay Pyi Taw translates as: "Great City of the Sun" or "Abode of Kings"
    Administrative divisions field listing

    7 regions (taing-myar, singular - taing), 7 states (pyi ne-myar, singular - pyi ne), 1 union territory

    regions: Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy), Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon (Rangoon)

    states: Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan

    union territory: Nay Pyi Taw

    Independence field listing
    4 January 1948 (from the UK)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)
    Constitution field listing
    history: previous 1947, 1974 (suspended until 2008); latest drafted 9 April 2008, approved by referendum 29 May 2008
    amendments: proposals require at least 20% approval by the Assembly of the Union membership; passage of amendments to sections of the constitution on basic principles, government structure, branches of government, state emergencies, and amendment procedures requires 75% approval by the Assembly and approval in a referendum by absolute majority of registered voters; passage of amendments to other sections requires only 75% Assembly approval; amended 2015
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: both parents must be citizens of Burma
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: none

    note: an applicant for naturalization must be the child or spouse of a citizen

    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President WIN MYINT (since 30 March 2018); Vice Presidents MYINT SWE (since 16 March 2016) and HENRY VAN THIO (since 30 March 2016); note - President HTIN KYAW (since 30 March 2016) resigned on 21 March 2018; the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President WIN MYINT (since 30 March 2018); Vice Presidents MYINT SWE (since 16 March 2016) and HENRY VAN THIO (since 30 March 2016
    cabinet: Cabinet appointments shared by the president and the commander-in-chief
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by simple majority vote by the full Assembly of the Union from among 3 vice-presidential candidates nominated by the Presidential Electoral College (consists of members of the lower and upper houses and military members); the other 2 candidates become vice-presidents (president elected for a 5-year term); election last held on 28 March 2018 (next to be held in November 2020)
    election results: WIN MYINT elected president; Assembly of the Union vote - WIN MYINT (NLD) 403, MYINT SWE (USDP) 211, HENRY VAN THIO (NLD) 18, 4 votes canceled (636 votes cast)
    state counsellor: State Counselor AUNG SAN SUU KYI (since 6 April 2016); she concurrently serves as minister of foreign affairs and minister for the office of the president

    note: a parliamentary bill creating the position of "state counsellor" was signed into law by former President HTIN KYAW on 6 April 2016; a state counsellor serves the equivalent term of the president and is similar to a prime minister in that the holder acts as a link between the parliament and the executive branch

    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Assembly of the Union or Pyidaungsu consists of:
    House of Nationalities or Amyotha Hluttaw, (224 seats; 168 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed and 56 appointed by the military; members serve 5-year terms)
    House of Representatives or Pyithu Hluttaw, (440 seats, currently 433; 330 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 110 appointed by the military; members serve 5-year terms)
    House of Nationalities - last held on 8 November 2015 (next to be held on 8 November 2020)
    House of Representatives - last held on 8 November 2015 (next to be held on 8 November 2020)
    election results:
    House of Nationalities - percent of vote by party - NLD 60.3%, USDP 4.9%, ANP 4.5%, SNLD 1.3%, other 4%, military appointees 25%; seats by party - NLD 135, USDP 11, ANP 10, SNLD 3, TNP 2, ZCD 2, other 3, independent 2, military appointees 56; composition - men 201, women 23, percent of women 10.3%

    House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NLD 58%, USDP 6.8%, ANP 2.7%, SNLD 2.7%, military 25%, other 4.8%; seats by party - NLD 255, USDP 30, ANP 12, SNLD 12, PNO 3, TNP 3, LNDP 2, ZCD 2, other 3, independent 1, canceled due to insurgence 7, military appointees 110; composition - men 392, women 41, percent of women 9.5%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court of the Union (consists of the chief justice and 7-11 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges nominated by the president, with approval of the Lower House, and appointed by the president; judges normally serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
    subordinate courts: High Courts of the Region; High Courts of the State; Court of the Self-Administered Division; Court of the Self-Administered Zone; district and township courts; special courts (for juvenile, municipal, and traffic offenses); courts martial
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    All Mon Region Democracy Party or AMRDP
    Arakan National Party or ANP (formed from the 2013 merger of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and the Arakan League for Democracy)
    National Democratic Force or NDF [KHIN MAUNG SWE]
    National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SAN SUU KYI]
    National Unity Party or NUP [THAN TIN]
    Pa-O National Organization or PNO [AUNG KHAM HTI]
    People's Party [KO KO GYI]
    Shan Nationalities Democratic Party or SNDP [SAI AIK PAUNG]
    Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [KHUN HTUN OO]
    Ta'ang National Party or TNP [AIK MONE]
    Union Solidarity and Development Party or USDP [THAN HTAY]
    Zomi Congress for Democracy or ZCD [PU CIN SIAN THANG]
    numerous smaller parties
    International organization participation field listing
    ADB, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, CP, EAS, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), NAM, OPCW (signatory), SAARC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador AUNG LYNN (since 16 September 2016)
    chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 332-3344
    FAX: [1] (202) 332-4351
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Scot MARCIEL (since 27 April 2016)
    telephone: [95] (1) 536-509, 535-756, 538-038
    embassy: 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, Rangoon
    mailing address: Box B, APO AP 96546
    FAX: [95] (1) 511-069
    Flag description field listing
    design consists of three equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top), green, and red; centered on the green band is a large white five-pointed star that partially overlaps onto the adjacent colored stripes; the design revives the triband colors used by Burma from 1943-45, during the Japanese occupation
    National symbol(s) field listing
    chinthe (mythical lion); national colors: yellow, green, red, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Kaba Ma Kyei" (Till the End of the World, Myanmar)
    lyrics/music: SAYA TIN

    note: adopted 1948; Burma is among a handful of non-European nations that have anthems rooted in indigenous traditions; the beginning portion of the anthem is a traditional Burmese anthem before transitioning into a Western-style orchestrated work

  • Economy :: Burma
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Since Burma began the transition to a civilian-led government in 2011, the country initiated economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and reintegrating into the global economy. Burma established a managed float of the Burmese kyat in 2012, granted the Central Bank operational independence in July 2013, enacted a new anti-corruption law in September 2013, and granted licenses to 13 foreign banks in 2014-16. State Counsellor AUNG SAN SUU KYI and the ruling National League for Democracy, who took power in March 2016, have sought to improve Burma’s investment climate following the US sanctions lift in October 2016 and reinstatement of Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits in November 2016. In October 2016, Burma passed a foreign investment law that consolidates investment regulations and eases rules on foreign ownership of businesses.

    Burma’s economic growth rate recovered from a low growth under 6% in 2011 but has been volatile between 6% and 8% between 2014 and 2018. Burma’s abundant natural resources and young labor force have the potential to attract foreign investment in the energy, garment, information technology, and food and beverage sectors. The government is focusing on accelerating agricultural productivity and land reforms, modernizing and opening the financial sector, and developing transportation and electricity infrastructure. The government has also taken steps to improve transparency in the mining and oil sectors through publication of reports under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2016 and 2018.

    Despite these improvements, living standards have not improved for the majority of the people residing in rural areas. Burma remains one of the poorest countries in Asia – approximately 26% of the country’s 51 million people live in poverty. The isolationist policies and economic mismanagement of previous governments have left Burma with poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, underdeveloped human resources, and inadequate access to capital, which will require a major commitment to reverse. The Burmese Government has been slow to address impediments to economic development such as unclear land rights, a restrictive trade licensing system, an opaque revenue collection system, and an antiquated banking system.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $329.8 billion (2017 est.)
    $308.7 billion (2016 est.)
    $291.5 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 53
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $67.28 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    6.8% (2017 est.)
    5.9% (2016 est.)
    7% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $6,300 (2017 est.)
    $5,900 (2016 est.)
    $5,600 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 163
    Gross national saving field listing
    17.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
    17.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    18.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 59.2% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 13.8% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 33.5% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 1.5% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 21.4% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -28.6% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 24.1% (2017 est.)
    industry: 35.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 40.3% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts; sugarcane; fish and fish products; hardwood
    Industries field listing
    agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; oil and natural gas; garments; jade and gems
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    8.9% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Labor force field listing
    22.3 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 70%
    industry: 7%
    services: 23% (2001 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    4% (2017 est.)
    4% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Population below poverty line field listing
    25.6% (2016 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 2.8%
    highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 9.108 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 11.23 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    13.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -3.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Public debt field listing
    33.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
    35.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Fiscal year field listing
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    4% (2017 est.)
    6.8% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Current account balance field listing
    $240 million (2019 est.)
    -$2.398 billion (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Exports field listing
    $9.832 billion (2017 est.)
    $9.085 billion (2016 est.)

    note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh

    country comparison to the world: 93
    Exports - partners field listing
    China 36.5%, Thailand 21.8%, Japan 6.6%, Singapore 6.4%, India 5.9% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    natural gas; wood products; pulses and beans; fish; rice; clothing; minerals, including jade and gems
    Imports field listing
    $15.78 billion (2017 est.)
    $12.81 billion (2016 est.)

    note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India

    country comparison to the world: 87
    Imports - commodities field listing
    fabric; petroleum products; fertilizer; plastics; machinery; transport equipment; cement, construction materials; food products‘ edible oil
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 31.4%, Singapore 15%, Thailand 11.1%, Saudi Arabia 7.5%, Malaysia 6.2%, Japan 6%, India 5.5%, Indonesia 4.5% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $4.924 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $4.63 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Debt - external field listing
    $6.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $8.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Exchange rates field listing
    kyats (MMK) per US dollar -
    1,361.9 (2017 est.)
    1,234.87 (2016 est.)
    1,234.87 (2015 est.)
    1,162.62 (2014 est.)
    984.35 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Burma
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 27 million (2019)
    electrification - total population: 51% (2019)
    electrification - urban areas: 76% (2019)
    electrification - rural areas: 39% (2019)
    Electricity - production field listing
    17.32 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    14.93 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    5.205 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    39% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    61% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Crude oil - production field listing
    11,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    1,824 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    139 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    13,330 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    123,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    102,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Natural gas - production field listing
    18.41 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    4.502 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    14.07 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    637.1 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    27.01 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
  • Communications :: Burma
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 544,283
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 63,877,526
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113.84 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: use to claim to be one of the last underdeveloped telecom markets in Asia; the mobile market has recently experienced rapid growth, in 2014 foreign competition was allowed to compete in the market and now they have moved from 1 operator to 3; low compared to other nations in the region, but expanding nationally; moving past fixed broadband to mobile device access for Internet services; rollout of 4G to eventually 5G networks (2020)
    domestic: fixed-line is 1 per 100, while mobile-cellular is 114 per 100 and shows great potential for the future (2019)
    international: country code - 95; landing points for the SeaMeWe-3, SeaMeWe-5, AAE-1 and Singapore-Myanmar optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and ShinSat (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    government controls all domestic broadcast media; 2 state-controlled TV stations with 1 of the stations controlled by the armed forces; 2 pay-TV stations are joint state-private ventures; access to satellite TV is limited; 1 state-controlled domestic radio station and 9 FM stations that are joint state-private ventures; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in parts of Burma; the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), BBC Burmese service, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and Radio Australia use shortwave to broadcast in Burma; VOA, RFA, and DVB produce daily TV news programs that are transmitted by satellite to audiences in Burma; in March 2017, the government granted licenses to 5 private broadcasters, allowing them digital free-to-air TV channels to be operated in partnership with government-owned Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) and will rely upon MRTV’s transmission infrastructure (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 17,064,985
    percent of population: 30.68% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 129,050
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
  • Transportation :: Burma
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 8 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 42
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 3,407,788 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4.74 million mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    XY (2016)
    Airports field listing
    64 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 36 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 12 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 11 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
    under 914 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 28 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)
    under 914 m: 13 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    11 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    3739 km gas, 1321 km oil (2017)
    Railways field listing
    total: 5,031 km (2008)
    narrow gauge: 5,031 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Roadways field listing
    total: 157,000 km (2013)
    paved: 34,700 km (2013)
    unpaved: 122,300 km (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Waterways field listing
    12,800 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 95
    by type: bulk carrier 1general cargo 39, oil tanker 6, other 49 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Mawlamyine (Moulmein), Sittwe
    river port(s): Rangoon (Yangon) (Rangoon River)
  • Military and Security :: Burma
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Burmese Defense Service (Tatmadaw): Army (Tatmadaw Kyi), Navy (Tatmadaw Yay), Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay), Directorate of People’s Militia and Border Guard Forces (2019)
    Military expenditures field listing
    2.9% of GDP (2018)
    3.2% of GDP (2017)
    3.7% of GDP (2016)
    4.1% of GDP (2015)
    3.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing

    estimates of the Burmese Defense Service (Tatmadaw) vary widely; approximately 380,000 total active troops (est. 340,000 Army; 20,000 Navy; 20,000 Air Force); est. 35,000 People’s Militia

    (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the Burmese Defense Service's inventory is comprised mostly of older Chinese and Russian/Soviet-era equipment with a smaller mix of more modern acquisitions; since 2010, China and Russia are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Burma; other suppliers include Belarus, India, Israel, and South Korea (2019 est.)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18-35 years of age (men) and 18-27 years of age (women) for voluntary military service; no conscription (a 2010 law reintroducing conscription has not yet entered into force); 2-year service obligation; male (ages 18-45) and female (ages 18-35) professionals (including doctors, engineers, mechanics) serve up to 3 years; service terms may be stretched to 5 years in an officially declared emergency; Burma signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 15 August 1991; on 27 June 2012, the regime signed a Joint Action Plan on prevention of child recruitment; in February 2013, the military formed a new task force to address forced child conscription (2013)
    Military - note field listing
    since the country's founding, the armed forces have been heavily involved in domestic politics and ran the country for five decades following a military coup in 1962; the military controls three key security ministries, one of two vice presidential appointments, and 25% of the parliamentary seats; its primary operational focus is internal security, particularly counterinsurgency operations against several insurgent groups in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states, such as the Arakan Army, the Kachin Independence Army, the Shan State Army, and the Tang National Liberation Army; these operations have resulted in numerous civilian casualties, human rights abuses, and internal displacement; the military is also engaged in small-scale operations against Naga insurgents along the northwestern border with India (2020)
  • Transnational Issues :: Burma
  • Disputes - international field listing

    over half of Burma's population consists of diverse ethnic groups who have substantial numbers of kin in neighboring countries; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 912,000 Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Rakhine State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up along border with Bangladesh in 2010; Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Burmese forces attempting to dig in to the largely autonomous Shan State to rout local militias tied to the drug trade, prompts local residents to periodically flee into neighboring Yunnan Province in China; fencing along the India-Burma international border at Manipur's Moreh town is in progress to check illegal drug trafficking and movement of militants; over 100,000 mostly Karen refugees and asylum seekers fleeing civil strife, political upheaval, and economic stagnation in Burma were living in remote camps in Thailand near the border as of May 2017

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    IDPs: 457,000 (government offensives against armed ethnic minority groups near its borders with China and Thailand, natural disasters, forced land evictions) (2019)
    stateless persons: 600,000 (2019); note - Rohingya Muslims, living predominantly in Rakhine State, are Burma's main group of stateless people; the Burmese Government does not recognize the Rohingya as a "national race" and stripped them of their citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, categorizing them as "non-nationals" or "foreign residents"; under the Rakhine State Action Plan drafted in October 2014, the Rohingya must demonstrate their family has lived in Burma for at least 60 years to qualify for a lesser naturalized citizenship and the classification of Bengali or be put in detention camps and face deportation; native-born but non-indigenous people, such as Indians, are also stateless; the Burmese Government does not grant citizenship to children born outside of the country to Burmese parents who left the country illegally or fled persecution, such as those born in Thailand; the number of stateless persons has decreased dramatically since late 2017 because hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August 2017 to escape violence

    note: estimate does not include stateless IDPs or stateless persons in IDP-like situations because they are included in estimates of IDPs (2017)

    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: Burma is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and for women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Burmese adult and child labor migrants travel to East Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, and the US, where men are forced to work in the fishing, manufacturing, forestry, and construction industries and women and girls are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or forced labor in the garment sector; some Burmese economic migrants and Rohingya asylum seekers have become forced laborers on Thai fishing boats; some military personnel and armed ethnic groups unlawfully conscript child soldiers or coerce adults and children into forced labor; domestically, adults and children from ethnic areas are vulnerable to forced labor on plantations and in mines, while children may also be subject to forced prostitution, domestic service, and begging
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making a significant effort toward meeting the minimum standard for eliminating human trafficking; in 2014, law enforcement continued to investigate and prosecute cross-border trafficking offenses but did little to address domestic trafficking; no civilians or government officials were prosecuted or convicted for the recruitment of child soldiers, a serious problem that is hampered by corruption and the influence of the military; victim referral and protection services remained inadequate, especially for men, and left victims vulnerable to being re-trafficked; the government coordinated anti-trafficking programs as part of its five-year national action plan (2015)
    Illicit drugs field listing
    world's second largest producer of illicit opium with an estimated poppy cultivation totaling 41,000 hectares in 2017, a decrease of 25% from the last survey in 2015; Shan state is the source of 91% of Burma's poppy cultivation; lack of government will to take on major narcotrafficking groups and lack of serious commitment against money laundering continues to hinder the overall antidrug effort; Burma is one of the world’s largest producers of amphetamine-type stimulants, which are trafficked throughout the region, as far afield as Australia and New Zealand