Sumatra Population 2024

What is the Population of Sumatra?

Sumatra is of unique importance to the world and is considered the fifth most populous island on the planet. It is not densely populated, with only 125 people per square kilometer, meaning that many people are still living in smaller towns or off the grid. As of the 2021 census and estimates, it is considered to have almost 60 million people. This is a large population, and for it to not be considered densely populated gives credence to how large the surface area of the island is. The population has almost tripled since the first census was conducted in 1971.

Because of the large population in Sumatra, there are over 52 languages that are spoken, with fewer being written. The majority of the languages and dialects belong to the Malay and Polynesian branches of the Austronesian languages, but two of the most popular languages, Chinese and Tamil, are not part of these roots. Sumatra is part of Indonesia, so the official language of Indonesia is spoken as the lingua franca of the island. Although this is recognized as the main language, many Malay variants are popular in both North and South Sumatra. The majority of the people on the island are Muslims, with a large minority of people identifying with the Christian religion.

What is Sumatra?

Sumatra is one of the most important islands in the world, both geographically and economically. It is one of the Sunda Islands which is located in the western part of Indonesia, and it is fully within the jurisdiction of the Indonesian state. Sumatra has an elongated landmass that spans many important features. The Indian Ocean surrounds and borders many coasts of Sumatra. The narrow strait of Malacca separates the island from the rest of the Malay peninsula, considered an extension of the larger Eurasian continent. Another strait separates Sumatra from the island of Java. The equator crosses along the island through the Riau provinces and the western part of the island. Several active volcanoes have not erupted for some time.

Sumatra's climate is tropical, containing many large rainforests that once dominated the landscape. Now, it has become a central hub of commerce and cleared for some residential and commercial purposes. Sumatran coffee beans and chocolate are famous around the world and are used by various coffee chains to produce a rich and bold taste in their caffeinated products. In the last 35 years, Sumatra has lost 50% of its tropical rainforests, making some species such as the Sumatran elephant, orangutan, and rhinoceros critically endangered. The deforestation of the island has caused a dangerous smoke haze to erupt from the island since 2013 and caused tensions and grief with neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

Interesting Facts about Sumatra

Sumatra comes from an ancient Sanskrit word meaning the "island" or "land" of gold. This is due to the various gold deposits found in the island's highlands, which contain several gold deposits. Marco Polo famously refers to the kingdom as Samara, which eventually turned into Sumatra with the rise to power of the kingdom of Samudera Pasai.