The population of Fiji is 920,983 people. The indigenous Fijians, who make up almost 57% of the total population, are Melanesian in appearance, but have many Polynesian traits due to mixing with Tongans in particular. This is expressed, among other things, in a lighter skin colour than that of Melanesians and in the Polynesian-oriented society. While the Melanesian peoples often advocate a matriarchal society, the Fijians are patriarchal. The chiefs inherit their status from their fathers and this also applies to the inheritance of land and other properties. The Fijians are also generally taller than their western neighbours. Melanesian, on the other hand, is the predominance of curly hair.
The somewhat smaller community of immigrant Indians descends from the tens of thousands of contract workers who were brought to the sugarcane plantations and in many cases did not return to their country. Emigration (mainly to Australia, as a result of the coups) and better birth planning have put an end to the short-lived numerical majority that existed in the 1940s to 1980s.
In percentages in 2017, indigenous Fijians (56.8%), Indians (37.5%), others (5.7%). The average life expectancy in 2017 is 73 years, with men reaching an average of 70.3 years and women 75.8 years.
Fijian, Hindi and English are spoken in Fiji. Fijian is an Austronesian language. The language is of the Malayo-Polynesian family, not too different from Hawaiian and Maori. The type of Fijian spoken in the islands today is known as Bauan. Indo-Fijians mainly speak a local variant of Hindi, known as Fiji Hindi. English is a remnant of British colonial rule over the islands and was the official language until 1997 and is widely used in government, business and education.
The inhabitants of Fiji practise the following religions: Christianity (53%, mostly Methodism), Hinduism (38%), Islam (8%), other (1%). Indigenous Fijians are mainly Christians, most of those with Asian ancestry are Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs. The largest Christian denomination is the Methodist Church, other Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church also have significant followings.
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