90% of the population live in Paramaribo or the coast. Paramaribo is the capital and largest city with a population of 250,000, or close to half of the country's population. Suriname is by far one of the least densely populated countries in the world with just 3 people per square kilometer (7/sq mi), which ranks 231st in the world.
There are many distinct ethnic groups in Suriname. The largest are East Indians (37%), who are descended from 19th century contract workers who arrived from India. Suriname Creoles (31%) are mixed descendants of West African slaves and primarily Dutch Europeans. The Javanese (15%) are descended from contract workers from the Dutch East Indies on Java, Indonesia. The Surinamese Maroons (10%) are descended from escaped West African slaves and are divided into five groups: Ndyuka, Kwinti, Matawai, Saramaccans and Paramaccans.
Amerindians (3.7%) are the original inhabitants of Suriname and include groups like the Wayana, Arawak, Akuriyo, Carib/Kalina, and Trio and live mostly in Paramaribo, Wanica, Marowijne, and Spialiwini.
Other groups include the Chinese, with about 14,000 descendants from early 19th century contract workers and immigrants during the 1990's and 21st century; Europeans, who are mostly descended from Dutch 19th century farmers and Portuguese; Arabs; Jews, who are descended from Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews; and Brazilians, most of whom are gold miners.
There are approximately 328,000 Surinamese in the Netherlands, compared to the 568,000 population of Suriname itself.
Suriname is the only independent country in the Americas that speaks Dutch.