The nation of Fiji is comprised of over 300 islands, although only 110 of those are actually inhabited. Even without those uninhabited territories taken into account, this is a very sparsely populated nation. Fiji is located in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,300 miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island.
Fiji has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC, first by the Austronesians and then the Melanesians. Europeans first came to the area in the 1600's, and the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. The country gained independence in 1970.
Fiji's population is comprised mostly of native Fijians, or Melanesians, at 54%. Many native Fijians have Polynesian ancestry as well. Indo-Fijians account for 38% of the population, and they are descended from Indian laborers who were brought to the region by the British in the 1800s. Migration has reduced the percentage of Indo-Fijians dramatically over the last 20 years. Relationships between Indo-Fijians and ethnic Fijians are strained.
About 1% of Fiji's population are Rotuman, who are natives of Rotuma Island.
33% of the population of Fiji were aged between 0 and 14 - a figure that is some way in excess of the worldwide average. In addition, 63% were between the ages of 15 and 64 while just 4% of the country were aged 65 and over – considerably below the average percentages for all countries in the world.
As far as life expectancy is concerned, it is relatively low at 67.94 years for the total population. This is split between males at 65.54 years and females at 70.45 years.
Fiji Population Growth
Estimates from the World Factbook are patchy and the population growth rate of 1.4% that is widely reported actually dates back to 2006.
Natural growth figures are even older - originating from 2000 but they are still worth recording here. At that time, it was claimed that there were 23.48 births per 1,000 of the Fiji population alongside 5.78 deaths per 1000. There was also a net loss due to migration out of the country of 3.6 people per 1000.