Timor Leste Population 2017
The population is mostly concentrated around Dili, the largest city and capital, with a population of 234,000. The population of 1.15 million is substantially higher than the 2000 population of just 853,000.
The term Maubere was used by the Portuguese to refer to native East Timorese and usually used as a synonym for the uneducated and illiterate, although it is now used as a term of pride. Maubere have many different ethnic groups, many of which are of mixed Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian/Papuan descent.
The largest Malayo-Polynesian group are the Tetum (100,000), who live around Dili, follwed by the Mambai (80,000) in the mountains, the Tukudede (63,000) around Liquica and Maubara, the Galoli (50,000), the Kemak (50,000) in north-central Timor island, and the Baikeno (20,000).
The main groups of Papuan origin are the Bunak (50,000) in the central region of Timor island, the Fataluka (30,000) near Lospalos and the Makasae at the eastern end of the island.
There is also a large population of people of mixed East Timorese and Portuguese origin called mesticos, and a small Chinese minority.
Timor-Leste is one of just two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, along with the Philippines.
It is believed that descendants from three separate migration waves continue to live in East Timor, including the Australoid indigenous people from Australia and New Guinea, who arrived 40,000 years ago.
In the 16th century, Timor-Leste was colonized by Portugal and known as Portuguese Timor. The Portuguese established outposts in the area. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese and the struggle to defeat the Japanese by Allied forces and East Timorese volunteers led to the deaths of up to 70,000 East Timorese. Portugal effectively abandoned its colony in 1974, and Timor-Leste declared independence in 1975 but was invaded and occupied by Indonesia. The Indonesian occupation was marked by violence and brutality, which killed about 100,000 people. In 1999, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory.
Nearly 37% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 UDS per day, and 50% of the population is illiterate. The country still struggles with the aftereffects of its struggle for independence from Indonesia, which killed a minimum of 100,000 people.
Source: Nick Hobgood