Kuala Lumpur Population 2017

Kuala Lumpur, or KL, is the federal capital and most populous city of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is the fastest growing metropolitan area of the country. Ranked as an alpha world city, it's the economic, financial and cultural city of the country and one of three Malaysian Federal Territories. The city also has a high Human Development Index. In 2016, Kuala Lumpur has an estimated population of 1.76 million.

Kuala Lumpur has an estimated 2016 population of 1.76 million people in an area of just 94 square kilometers (243 square kilometers). This gives the city proper a very high population density of 17,310 people per square mile, or 6,890 per square kilometer. Greater Kuala Lumpur, or the Klang Valley, is a large urban agglomeration with an estimated population of 7.2 million in 2016 with a population density that is nearly equal to that of the city proper.

Kuala Lumpur Demographics

According to the 2010 census, major ethnic groups in Kuala Lumpur are:

  • Malay/Bumiputera: 45.9%
  • Chinese: 43.2%
  • Indians: 10.3%
  • Other: 1.6%

The city is primarily a mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians, although there are many cultures in the city such as Eurasians, Kadazans, Ibans and indigenous peoples from East Malaysia and Peninsula Malaysia. In the 1970s, the Malaysian government put in place policies deemed "racially discriminatory" to favor the Malays (also called Bumiputera, a term that describes the Malay and other indigenous peoples of the Southeast Asia). This was done to defuse ethnic tensions after violence against Chinese Malaysians, and it created a strong urban Malay middle class, although it did little to get rid of poverty in rural areas and it led to resentment from other groups, including the large Chinese and Indian minorities.

In recent years, the share of foreign residents in the city has increased, now accounting for about 9% of the total population. Rapid development in the city has led to an influx of low-skilled foreign workers from countries like Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Vietnam. Many have come illegally or without the permits necessary for work.

Kuala Lumpur has many religions. Islam accounts for 46.4% of the population, followed by Buddhism (35.7%), Hinduism (8.5%), Christianity (5.8%), Daoism (1.1%) and other religions (2%).

Kuala Lumpur Population Growth

Kuala Lumpur is an aging city as birth rates have fallen in the last decade or two. This has led to a lower percentage of young people under 15, a group that has fallen from 33% in 1980 to under 27% in 2000. The working age group between 15 and 59 has increased from 63% in 1980 to 67% in 2000 as more people move to the city for opportunities. By 2020, Kuala Lumpur is projected to have a population of 2.2 million.

Kuala Lumpur Population in 2018Source: Azharsofii

Kuala Lumpur Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20309,423,0008.27%720,000
20258,703,00010.95%859,000
20207,844,0008.13%590,000
20177,254,0006.10%417,000
20156,837,00017.68%1,027,000
20105,810,00017.92%883,000
20054,927,00017.98%751,000
20004,176,00040.37%1,201,000
19952,975,00041.80%877,000
19902,098,00047.02%671,000
19851,427,00046.96%456,000
1980971,00046.90%310,000
1975661,00046.56%210,000
1970451,00014.47%57,000
1965394,00014.53%50,000
1960344,00014.67%44,000
1955300,00014.50%38,000
1950262,0000.00%0
Kuala Lumpur Population Growth

Kuala Lumpur's 2017 population is now estimated at 7,254,000. In 1950, the population of Kuala Lumpur was 262,000. Kuala Lumpur has grown by 417,000 in the last year, which represents a 6.10% change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Kuala Lumpur, which typically includes Kuala Lumpur's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. Department of Statistics Malaysia - Population statistics for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
  2. Department of Statistics Malaysia - Malaysia Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristic Report
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations