Quick Facts

  • Officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The U.S. did not adopt this name and still calls it Burma.
  • Gained independence in 1948 from the United Kingdom. From 1962-2011 the country was under military rule but this was dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010. A civilian government was installed.
  • It is the 2nd largest country in Southeast Asia – 261,277 sq. mi.
  • Population: over 56,320,206
  • Capital and largest city: Yangon (Rangoon)(pop. 4.802 million)
  • Official language: Burmese, others include Sham, Karen, Kachin, , Chinese
  • Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, other small groups
  • Literacy: 93.1%
  • Religion: Buddhism 89%, Christians and Muslims face persecution
  • Climate: Myanmar (Burma) lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia with coastal regions receiving over 196.9 inches of rain annually.
  • Natural resources: sapphires, pearls, jade, rubies–90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma.  Many U.S. and European jewelry companies refuse to import these stones  because of deplorable working conditions in the mines
  • Economy: Until 1948, under British rule, Burma was the 2nd wealthiest country in Southeast Asia. It had been the world’s largest exporter of rice. Burma had a wealth of natural and labour resources.
  • Natural disasters: In 2008, Burma was hit with their worst natural disaster, Cyclone Nargis. An estimated 200,000 people died, damage totaled over 10 billion dollars, and as many as one million people were left homeless. Burma’s isolationist government hindered recovery efforts by delaying the entry of the United Nations planes delivering medicine, food, and other supplies.  Flooding and landslides are common during the rainy season (June to Sept.)
  • Trafficking in persons: Burma is a source country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Illicit drugs: world’s 3rd largest producer of illicit opium
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com


Government in Power

  • A nominal civilian parliamentary government
  • Chief of state and head of government: President Thein Sein (since 2011)



Healthcare Statistics

  • Maternal mortality rate: 178/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 43.55/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 66.29 years
  • Health expenditures: 1.8% of GDP (lowest in the world)
  • Physicians density: 0.61 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 0.6 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.69%. According to a report named “Preventable Fate” published by Doctors Without Borders, 25,000 Burmese AIDS patients died in 2007, deaths that could have largely been prevented by anti-retroviral therapy drugs and proper treatment.
  • Major infectious diseases risk: very high
  • Infectious disease: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, leptospirosis, rabies, avian influenza
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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