The ancient city of Bagan is located in Mandalay Division and is home to over 2,000 pagodas and temples. The majority of the buildings were built during the 11th to 13th centuries when Bagan was the capital of the Burmese Empire.
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Burma, colonized by Britain in the 19th century and granted independence post-World War II, contains ethnic Burman and scores of other ethnic and religious minority groups that have all resisted external efforts to consolidate control of the country throughout its history, extending to the several minority groups today that possess independent fighting forces and control pockets of territory. In 1962, Gen. NE WIN seized power and ruled Burma until 1988 when a new military regime took control. In 1990, the junta permitted an election but then rejected the results when the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader AUNG SAN SUU KYI (ASSK) won in a landslide. The junta placed ASSK under house arrest for much of the next 20 years, until November 2010. In 2007, rising fuel prices in Burma led pro-democracy activists and Buddhist monks to launch a "Saffron Revolution" consisting of large protests against the ruling junta, which violently suppressed the movement by killing an unknown number of participants and arresting thousands. The regime prevented new elections until it had drafted a constitution designed to preserve its control; it passed the new constitution in its 2008 referendum, days after Cyclone Nargis killed at least 138,000. The junta conducted an election in 2010, but the NLD boycotted the vote, and the military’s Union Solidarity and Development Party easily won; international observers denounced the election as flawed.

With former or current military officers installed in its most senior positions, Burma began a halting process of political and economic reforms. Officials freed prisoners, brokered ceasefires with ethnic armed groups (EAGs), amended courts, expanded civil liberties, brought ASSK into government in 2012, and permitted the NLD in 2015 to take power after a sweeping electoral win. However, Burma’s first credibly elected civilian government, with ASSK as the de facto head of state, faced strong headwinds after five decades of military dictatorship. The NLD government drew international criticism for blocking investigations of Burma’s military for operations, which the US Department of State determined constituted genocide, on its Rohingya population that killed thousands and forced more than 770,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The military did not support an NLD pledge in 2019 to examine reforming the military’s 2008 constitution. When the 2020 elections resulted in further NLD gains, the military denounced them as fraudulent. This challenge led Commander-in-Chief Sr. General MIN AUNG HLAING to launch a coup in February 2021 that has left Burma reeling with the return to authoritarian rule, the detention of ASSK and thousands of pro-democracy actors, and renewed brutal repression against protestors, widespread violence, and economic decline.

Since the coup and subsequent crackdown, members of parliament elected in November 2020 and ousted by the military have formed a shadow National Unity Government (NUG). Members of the NUG include representatives from the NLD, ethnic minority groups, civil society, and other minor parties. In May 2021, the NUG announced the formation of a notional army called the called the People's Defense Force (PDF), and in September announced the start of an insurgency against the military junta after the formation of hundreds of local armed groups. As of early 2023, PDF groups across the country continue to fight the military regime with varying levels of support from and cooperation with the NUG and antiregime EAGs.

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Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Geographic coordinates

22 00 N, 98 00 E

Map references

Southeast Asia


total: 676,578 sq km

land: 653,508 sq km

water: 23,070 sq km

country comparison to the world: 42

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Texas

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 6,522 km

border countries (5): Bangladesh 271 km; China 2,129 km; India 1,468 km; Laos 238 km; Thailand 2,416 km


1,930 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


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)


central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands


highest point: Gamlang Razi 5,870 m

lowest point: Andaman Sea/Bay of Bengal 0 m

mean elevation: 702 m

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 19.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 16.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 48.2% (2018 est.)

other: 32.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

17,140 sq km (2020)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Mekong (shared with China [s], Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Salween river mouth (shared with China [s] and Thailand) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river mouth (shared with China [s]) - 2,809 km; Chindwin - 1,158 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Irrawaddy (413,710 sq km), Salween (271,914 sq km)
Pacific Ocean drainage: Mekong (805,604 sq km)

Population distribution

population concentrated along coastal areas and in general proximity to the shores of the Irrawaddy River; the extreme north is relatively underpopulated

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Geography - note

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


noun: Burmese (singular and plural)

adjective: Burmese

Ethnic groups

Burman (Bamar) 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%

note: the largest ethnic group — the Burman (or Bamar) — dominate politics, although they have never managed to bring the entire national territory under their control; the military ranks are largely drawn from this ethnic group; the Burman mainly populate the central parts of the country, while various ethnic minorities have traditionally lived in the peripheral regions that surround the plains in a horseshoe shape; government recognizes 135 indigenous ethnic groups


Burmese (official)

major-language sample(s):
ကမ္ဘာ့အချက်အလက်စာအုပ်- အခြေခံအချက်အလက်တွေအတွက် မရှိမဖြစ်တဲ့ အရင်းအမြစ် (Burmese)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

note: minority ethnic groups use their own languages


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

Demographic profile

Burma’s 2014 national census – the first in more than 30 years – revealed that the country’s total population is approximately 51.5 million, significantly lower than the Burmese Government’s prior estimate of 61 million.  The Burmese Government assumed that the 2% population growth rate between 1973 and 1983 remained constant and that emigration was zero, ignoring later sample surveys showing declining fertility rates and substantial labor migration abroad in recent decades.  These factors reduced the estimated average annual growth rate between 2003 and 2014 to about .9%.  Among Southeast Asian countries, Burma’s life expectancy is among the lowest and its infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest.  The large difference in life expectancy between women and men has resulted in older age cohorts consisting of far more women than men.

Burma’s demographic transition began in the 1950s, when mortality rates began to drop.  Fertility did not start to decrease until the 1960s, sustaining high population growth until the decline accelerated in the 1980s.  The birth rate has held fairly steady from 2000 until today.  Since the 1970s, the total fertility rate (TFR) has fallen more than 60%, from almost 6 children per woman to 2.2 in 2016.  The reduced TFR is largely a result of women marrying later and more women never marrying, both being associated with greater educational attainment and labor force participation among women.  TFR, however, varies regionally, between urban and rural areas, by educational attainment, and among ethnic groups, with fertility lowest in urban areas (where it is below replacement level).

The shift in Burma’s age structure has been slow (45% of the population is still under 25 years of age) and uneven among its socioeconomic groups.  Any economic boost from the growth of the working-age population is likely to take longer to develop, to have a smaller impact, and to be distributed unequally.  Rural poverty and unemployment continue to drive high levels of internal and international migration.  The majority of labor migration is internal, mainly from rural to urban areas.  The new government’s growing regional integration, reforms, and improved diplomatic relations are increasing the pace of international migration and destination choices.  As many as 4-5 million Burmese, mostly from rural areas and several ethnic groups, have taken up unskilled jobs abroad in agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, and domestic service.  Thailand is the most common destination, hosting about 70% of Burma’s international migrants, followed by Malaysia, China, and Singapore. 

Burma is a patchwork of more than 130 religious and ethnic groups, distinguishing it as one of the most diverse countries in the region.  Ethnic minorities face substantial discrimination, and the Rohingya, the largest Muslim group, are arguably the most persecuted population in the country.  The Burmese Government and the Buddhist majority see the Rohingya as a threat to identity, competitors for jobs and resources, terrorists, and some still resent them for their alliance with Burma’s British colonizers during its 19th century.  Since at least the 1960s, they have been subjected to systematic human rights abuses, violence, marginalization, and disenfranchisement, which authorities continue to deny.  Despite living in Burma for centuries, many Burmese see the Rohingya as illegal Bengali immigrants and refer to them Bengalis.  As a result, the Rohingya have been classified as foreign residents and stripped of their citizenship, rendering them one of the largest stateless populations in the world.  

Hundreds of thousands of Burmese from various ethnic groups have been internally displaced (an estimated 644,000 as of year-end 2016) or have fled to neighboring countries over the decades because of persecution, armed conflict, rural development projects, drought, and natural disasters.  Bangladesh has absorbed the most refugees from Burma, with an estimated 33,000 officially recognized and 200,000 to 500,000 unrecognized Rohingya refugees, as of 2016.  An escalation in violation has caused a surge in the inflow of Rohingya refugees since late August 2017, raising the number to an estimated 870,000.  As of June 2017, another approximately 132,500 refugees, largely Rohingya and Chin, were living in Malaysia, and more than 100,000, mostly Karen, were housed in camps along the Burma-Thailand border. 

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.89% (male 7,394,557/female 7,036,651)

15-64 years: 68.3% (male 19,496,581/female 20,097,806)

65 years and over: 6.8% (2023 est.) (male 1,718,677/female 2,226,021)

2023 population pyramid
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 46

youth dependency ratio: 36.3

elderly dependency ratio: 9.7

potential support ratio: 10.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 29.2 years

male: 28.3 years

female: 30 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 133

Birth rate

16.04 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Death rate

7.14 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Net migration rate

-1.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 157

Population distribution

population concentrated along coastal areas and in general proximity to the shores of the Irrawaddy River; the extreme north is relatively underpopulated


urban population: 32.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.85% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

5.610 million RANGOON (Yangon) (capital), 1.532 million Mandalay (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

24.7 years (2015/16 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

179 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Infant mortality rate

total: 32.2 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 35.34 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 28.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.21 years

male: 68.57 years

female: 71.95 years (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Gross reproduction rate

0.97 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95.4% of population

rural: 80.7% of population

total: 85.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.6% of population

rural: 19.3% of population

total: 14.7% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

3.7% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.74 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

1 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 93.9% of population

rural: 81.3% of population

total: 85.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.1% of population

rural: 18.7% of population

total: 14.8% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

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

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.06 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.5 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.55 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Tobacco use

total: 44.1% (2020 est.)

male: 68.5% (2020 est.)

female: 19.7% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 1.9%

women married by age 18: 16%

men married by age 18: 5% (2016 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 89.1%

male: 92.4%

female: 86.3% (2019)

note: most public schools were closed immediately after the coup in 2021, and attendance remained low since schools reopened; literacy is expected to decline from 2019 to 2023

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 10 years

female: 11 years (2018)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 6.4%

male: 6.5%

female: 6.3% (2021 est.)


Environment - current issues

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

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 34.69 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 25.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 42.2 megatons (2020 est.)


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)

Land use

agricultural land: 19.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 16.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 48.2% (2018 est.)

other: 32.6% (2018 est.)


urban population: 32.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.85% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to conflict, political instability, and economic constraints - the political crisis, following the military takeover on 1 February 2021, resulted in increased tensions and unrest throughout the country; the current uncertain political situation may further compromise the fragile situation of vulnerable households and the Rohingya IDPs residing in the country; armed conflict between the military and non‑state armed groups led to population displacements, disrupted agricultural activities and limited access for humanitarian support especially in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Kayah and Shan states; income losses and a decline in remittances, due to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, have affected the food security situation of vulnerable households; domestic prices of Emata rice, the most consumed variety in the country, were at high levels in May 2022, constraining access to a key staple food (2022)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4,677,307 tons (2000 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Mekong (shared with China [s], Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Salween river mouth (shared with China [s] and Thailand) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river mouth (shared with China [s]) - 2,809 km; Chindwin - 1,158 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Irrawaddy (413,710 sq km), Salween (271,914 sq km)
Pacific Ocean drainage: Mekong (805,604 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 3.32 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

industrial: 500 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

agricultural: 29.57 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

Total renewable water resources

1.2 trillion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

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 deposed 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

parliamentary republic


name: Rangoon (aka Yangon, continues to be recognized as the primary Burmese capital by the US Government); Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital

geographic coordinates: 16 48 N, 96 10 E

time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Rangoon/Yangon derives from the Burmese words yan and koun, which mean "danger" and "no more" respectively and provide the meaning of "end of strife"; Nay Pyi Taw translates as: "Abode of Royals" or "the capital city of a kingdom"

Administrative divisions

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, Karen, Mon, Rakhine, Shan

union territory: Nay Pyi Taw


4 January 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)


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; military granted 25% of parliamentary seats by default; amended 2015

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law (as introduced in codifications designed for colonial India) and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


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


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Prime Minister, State Administration Council (SAC) Chair, Sr. Gen. MIN AUNG HLAING (since 1 August 2021);note - the military took over the government on 1 February 2021 and declared a state of emergency

head of government: Prime Minister, State Administration Council (SAC) Chair, Sr. Gen. MIN AUNG HLAING (since 1 August 2021)

cabinet: Cabinet appointments shared by the president and the commander-in-chief; note - after 1 February, the military junta replaced the cabinet

elections/appointments: prior to the military takeover, president was 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; the military junta pledged to hold new elections in 2023

election results: 2018: WIN MYINT elected president in an indirect by-election held on 28 March 2018 after the resignation of HTIN KYAW; Assembly of the Union vote - WIN MYINT (NLD) 403, MYINT SWE (USDP) 211, HENRY VAN THIO (NLD) 18, 4 votes canceled (636 votes cast); note - WIN MYINT and other key leaders of the ruling NLD party were placed under arrest following the military takeover on 1 February 2021

2016: Assembly of the Union vote - HTIN KYAW elected president; HTIN KYAW (NLD) 360, MYINT SWE (USDP) 213, HENRY VAN THIO (NLD) 79 (652 votes cast)

state counsellor: State Counselor AUNG SAN SUU KYI (since 6 April 2016); note - under arrest since 1 February 2021 (has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison as of late 2022); formerly served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Office of the President

note 1: 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

note 2: in January 2023, the junta announced a 6-month extension on the state of emergency in place since 2021, a move that would likely delay elections that it had pledged to hold by August 2023

Legislative branch

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); note - on 1 February 2021, the military dissolved the Assembly of the Union; the State Administration Council (SAC) governs in place of the Assembly of the Union

elections: House of Nationalities - last held on 8 November 2020 
House of Representatives - last held on 8 November 2020; note - the military junta overturned the results of the 8 November legislative elections

election results: House of Nationalities - percent of vote by party - NLD 61.6%, USDP 3.1%, ANP 1.8%, MUP 1.3%, KySDP 1.3%, other 5.9%, military appointees 25%; seats by party - NLD 138, USDP 7, ANP 4, MUP 3, KySPD 3, SNLD 2, TNP 2, other 2, canceled due to insurgency 7, military appointees 56

House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NLD 58.6%, USDP 5.9%, SNLD 3.0%, other 7.5%, military 25%; seats by party - NLD 258, USDP 26, SNLD 13, ANP 4, PNO 3, TNP 3, MUP 2, KySPD 2, other 4, canceled due to insurgency 15, military appointees 110

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Arakan National Party or ANP [THAR TUN HLA]
Democratic Party or DP [U THU WAI]
Kayah State Democratic Party or KySDP
Kayin People's Party or KPP [TUN AUNG MYINT]
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party or KDUP [LUO XINGGUANG]
La Hu National Development Party or LHNDP [KYA HAR SHAL]
Lisu National Development Party or LNDP [U ARKI DAW]
Mon Unity Party (formed in 2019 from the All Mon Region Democracy Party and Mon National Party)
National Democratic Force or NDF [KHIN MAUNG SWE]
National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SAN SUU KYI]
National Unity Party or NUP [U HAN SHWE]
Pa-O National Organization or PNO [AUNG KHAM HTI]
People's Party [KO KO GYI]
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party or SNDP [SAI AI PAO]
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD 
Ta'ang National Party or TNP [AIK MONE]
Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party or TNDP [ U SAI HTAY AUNG]
Union Solidarity and Development Party or USDP [THAN HTAY]
Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State or UDPKS [U KHAT HTEIN NAN]
Wa Democratic Party or WDP [KHUN HTUN LU]
Wa National Unity Party or WNUP [NYI PALOTE]
Zomi Congress for Democracy or ZCD [PU CIN SIAN THANG]
(numerous smaller parties; approximately 90 parties ran in the 2020 election)

note: in January 2023, the military junta announced a new law restricting political parties and their ability to participate in elections, including: 1) barring parties and candidates deemed by the junta to have links to individuals or organizations alleged to have committed terrorism or other unlawful acts; 2) stipulating that political parties that wanted to contest the national election would also need to secure at least 100,000 members within 90 days of registration and have funds of 100 million Myanmar kyat ($45,500), 100 times more than previously required, which would need to be deposited with a state-owned bank; 3) requiring that any existing party must apply for registration within 60 days of the legislation being announced or be invalidated; allowing for parties to be suspended for 3 years, and ultimately dissolved, for failing to comply with the provisions of the new law; 4) not allowing parties to lodge an appeal against election commission decisions on registration

in March 2023, the military junta announced that 40 political parties had been dissolved, including the National League for Democracy, because they did not register under the junta's new party establishment rules

International organization participation

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

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires HTWE Hteik Tin Lwin (since 5 February 2022)

chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-3344; [1] (202) 332-4250

FAX: [1] (202) 332-4351

email address and website:;

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas J. VAJDA (since 19 January 2021)

embassy: 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, Rangoon

mailing address: 4250 Rangoon Place, Washington DC  20521-4250

telephone: [95] (1) 753-6509

FAX: [95] (1) 751-1069

email address and website:

Flag description

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)

chinthe (mythical lion); national colors: yellow, green, red, white

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (both cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Pyu Ancient Cities; Bagan


Economic overview

prior to COVID-19 and the February 2021 military coup, massive declines in poverty, rapid economic growth, and improving social welfare; underdevelopment, climate change, and unequal investment threaten progress and sustainability planning; since coup, foreign assistance has ceased from most funding sources

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$216.948 billion (2021 est.)

$264.29 billion (2020 est.)

$256.16 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 65

Real GDP growth rate

-17.91% (2021 est.)

3.17% (2020 est.)

6.75% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 222

Real GDP per capita

$4,000 (2021 est.)

$4,900 (2020 est.)

$4,800 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 184

GDP (official exchange rate)

$76.606 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

8.83% (2019 est.)

6.87% (2018 est.)

4.57% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 198

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 24.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 35.6% (2017 est.)

services: 40.3% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, beans, vegetables, milk, maize, poultry, groundnuts, fruit, plantains


agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; oil and natural gas; garments; jade and gems

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry: 7%

services: 23% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate

2.17% (2021 est.)

1.06% (2020 est.)

0.5% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Average household expenditures

on food: 56.1% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 0.5% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)


revenues: $13.361 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $18.035 billion (2020 est.)

Public debt

33.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

35.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

$67.72 million (2019 est.)

-$2.561 billion (2018 est.)

-$4.917 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 68


$17.523 billion (2019 est.)

$15.728 billion (2018 est.)

$13.629 billion (2017 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 89

Exports - partners

China 24%, Thailand 24%, Japan 7%, Germany 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, clothing products, dried legumes, precious stones, yttrium, scandium, rice, corn (2021)

note: Burmese methamphetamine production and opiate production remain significant illicit trade commodities


$17.356 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$18.664 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$18.459 billion (2017 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: 95

Imports - partners

China 43%, Thailand 15%, Singapore 12%, Indonesia 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, fabrics, motorcycles, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.67 billion (31 December 2020 est.)

$5.824 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

$5.646 billion (31 December 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Debt - external

$6.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$8.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Exchange rates

kyats (MMK) per US dollar -

1,381.619 (2020 est.)

1,518.255 (2019 est.)

1,429.808 (2018 est.)

1,360.359 (2017 est.)

1,234.87 (2016 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 51% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 76% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 39% (2019)


installed generating capacity: 7.247 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 20,474,380,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 1.002 billion kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 3.405 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 52.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 47.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 1.468 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 1.981 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 1,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 514,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 6 million metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 7,800 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 146,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 4,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 139 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 17,710,912,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 3,612,431,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 14,188,161,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 475.156 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 637.128 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

31.848 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 3.881 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 20.832 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 7.134 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 522,141 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 67,930,093 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Burma, one of the least developed telecom markets in Asia, saw growth in mobile and broadband services through foreign competition and roll out of 4G and 5G networks; infrastructure development challenged by flooding, unreliable electricity, inefficient bureaucracy, and corruption; digital divide affects rural areas; fixed broadband remains low due to number of fixed-lines and near saturation of the mobile platform; healthy m-banking platform; tests for NB-IoT; benefit from launch of regional satellite; government utilizes intermittent censorship and shut-down of Internet in political crisis (2020)

domestic: fixed-line is just under 1 per 100, while mobile-cellular is roughly 126 per 100 (2021)

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)

Broadcast media

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; following the February 2021 military coup, the regime revoked the media licenses of most independent outlets, including the free-to-air licenses for DVB and Mizzima (2022)

Internet users

total: 23.76 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 44% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 688,185 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81


National air transport system

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


11 (2021)


3,739 km gas, 1321 km oil (2017)


total: 5,031 km (2008)

narrow gauge: 5,031 km (2008) 1.000-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 39


total: 157,000 km (2013)

paved: 34,700 km (2013)

unpaved: 122,300 km (2013)

country comparison to the world: 33

Merchant marine

total: 102

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 45, oil tanker 5, other 51 (2022)

country comparison to the world: 88

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Mawlamyine (Moulmein), Sittwe

river port(s): Rangoon (Yangon) (Rangoon River)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Burmese Defense Service (aka Armed Forces of Burma, Myanmar Army, Royal Armed Forces, or the Tatmadaw): Army (Tatmadaw Kyi), Navy (Tatmadaw Yay), Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay); People’s Militia; Ministry of Home Affairs: Burma (People's) Police Force, Border Guard Forces/Police (2023)

note 1: under the 2008 constitution, the Tatmadaw controls appointments of senior officials to lead the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Border Affairs, and the Ministry of Home Affairs; in March 2022, a new law gave the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw the authority to appoint or remove the head of the police force

note 2: the Burma Police Force is primarily responsible for internal security; the Border Guard Police is administratively part of the Burma Police Force but operationally distinct; both are under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is led by an active-duty military general and itself subordinate to the military command

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2022 est.)

3.3% of GDP (2021 est.)

3% of GDP (2020 est.)

4.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

4.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary widely, from approximately 250,000 to as many as 400,000 personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Burmese military inventory is comprised mostly of older Chinese and Russian/Soviet-era equipment with a smaller mix of more modern acquisitions; in recent years, China and Russia have been the leading suppliers of military hardware; Burma has a limited defense industry, including a growing shipbuilding capability and some production of ground force equipment that is largely based on Chinese and Russian designs (2022)

Military service age and obligation

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 (2022)

Military - note

since the country’s founding, the Tatmadaw has been heavily involved in domestic politics and the national economy; it ran the country for five decades following a military coup in 1962; prior to the most recent coup in 2021, the military already controlled three key security ministries (Defense, Border, and Home Affairs), one of two vice presidential appointments, 25% of the parliamentary seats, and had a proxy political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP); it owns and operates two business conglomerates that have over 100 subsidiaries; the business activities of these conglomerates include banking and insurance, hotels, tourism, jade and ruby mining, timber, construction, real estate, and the production of palm oil, sugar, soap, cement, beverages, drinking water, coal, and gas; some of the companies supply goods and services to the military, such as food, clothing, insurance, and cellphone service; the military also manages a film industry, publishing houses, and television stations

the Tatmadaw's primary operational focus is internal security, and it is conducting widespread counterinsurgency operations against anti-regime forces that launched an armed rebellion following the 2021 coup and an array of ethnic armed groups (EAGs), some of which have considerable military capabilities; it has been accused of  committing atrocities in the conduct of its campaign against the pro-democracy movement and opposition forces 

the Army is the dominant service and largely configured for counterinsurgency operations, although it has some conventional warfare capabilities; its principal combat forces are organized into 10 centrally-commanded light infantry/rapid reaction divisions, which have a key role in fighting against insurgents; the light infantry divisions are supported by approximately 20 regionally-based, divisional-sized “military operations commands,” and several brigade-sized “regional operations commands”; the Army’s insurgency operations are supported by the National Police, which has dozens of paramilitary combat police battalions; the Air Force also has a large counterinsurgency role with more than 100 combat-capable aircraft and helicopters, mostly ground attack aircraft and helicopter gunships, complemented by some multipurpose fighters; the Navy has traditionally been a coastal defense force, and the majority of the combat fleet consists of fast attack and patrol vessels; however, in recent years the Navy has expanded its blue water capabilities and has a small force of frigates and corvettes, as well as a landing platform docking (LPD) amphibious assault ship and 2 attack submarines acquired since 2020

the military is supported by hundreds of pro-government militias; some are integrated within the Tatmadaw’s command structure as Border Guard Forces, which are organized as battalions with a mix of militia forces, ethnic armed groups, and government soldiers that are armed, supplied, and paid by the Tatmadaw; other pro-military government militias are not integrated within the Tatmadaw command structure but receive direction and some support from the military and are recognized as government militias; a third type of pro-government militias are small community-based units that are armed, coordinated, and trained by local Tatmadaw forces and activated as needed; the junta has raised new militia units to help combat the popular uprising

EAGs have been fighting for self-rule against the Burmese Government since 1948; there are approximately 20 such groups operating in Burma with strengths of a few hundred up to more than 25,000 estimated fighters; some are organized along military lines with "brigades" and "divisions" and armed with heavy weaponry, including artillery; they control large tracts of the country’s territory, primarily in the border regions; key groups include the United Wa State Army, Karen National Union, Kachin Independence Army, Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army

the opposition National Unity Government claims its armed wing, the People's Defense Force (PDF), has more than 60,000 fighters loosely organized into battalions; in addition, several EAGs have cooperated with the NUG and supported local PDF groups (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

IDPs: 1.8 million (government offensives against armed ethnic minority groups near its borders with China and Thailand, natural disasters, forced land evictions) (2023)

stateless persons: 600,000 (2022); 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 because hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August 2017 to escape violence

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Burma does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore Burma remained on Tier 3; the military continued the use of children and adults for forced labor; the regime did not prosecute any military or deposed government officials for the forced labor, and it prevented civil society organizations from assisting trafficking victims; displacement resulting from military conflict, exacerbated by the February 2021 military coup that deposed the democratically elected government, made Rohingya and other ethnic groups more vulnerable to human trafficking (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit men, women, and children through forced labor, and women and children in sex trafficking in Burma and abroad; Burmese men are forced to work domestically and abroad in fishing, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, and construction; fishermen are lured into forced labor in remote waters and offshore by recruitment agencies in Burma and Southeast Asia; Burmese women increasingly are lured to China for marriage under false pretenses and are subjected to sex trafficking, forced concubinism and childbearing, and forced domestic labor; men, women, and children in ethnic minority areas are at increased risk of sex trafficking and forced labor in farming, manufacturing, and construction; men and boys are recruited locally by traffickers for forced labor in oil palm and rubber plantations, in mining, fishing, and bamboo, teak, and rice harvesting; some military personnel, civilian brokers, border guard officials, and ethnic armed groups continue to recruit child soldiers, particularly in conflict areas; discriminatory laws and hiring practices put LGBTQI+ individuals at higher risk for trafficking (2022)

Illicit drugs

a major source of illicit methamphetamine and opiates; illicit import of precursor chemicals from China increased production and trafficking of synthetic drugs; second-largest opium poppy cultivator in Asia, with an estimated 20,200 hectares grown in 2019; “Yaba,” a tablet containing methamphetamine, caffeine, and other stimulants, is produced in Burma and trafficked regionally; ethnic armed organizations, military-affiliated militias, and transnational criminal organizations oversee billion dollar drug production and trafficking industry; drugs produced in Burma are trafficked beyond Southeast Asia to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan; not a major source or transit country for drugs entering the United States