Yangon is a city that is located in Myanmar. It is the capital city of the Yangon Region. It was formerly the capital city of the country through 2006. The city has a population of over 4.34 million, although estimates vary since the country does not have an official census and had not taken an estimated census since 1983. In 2014, this finally changed, and a census was taken by school teachers numbering in the 100,000s. The most recent census report can be found here. The metropolitan population is 7,360,703. The city limits in recent years have expanded, leading to a significant increase in population.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Yangon covers a surface area of 598.75 km2 (231.18 sq mi). The population density comes to approximately 12,308 individuals living per square kilometer in the urban area of Yangon.
Yangon has the largest population in all of Myanmar, and its population is very diverse. In fact, it is so diverse that ethnic groups have created their own communities for networking. It is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. Some of the largest ethnic groups include Indians, South Asian Burmese, and Chinese Burmese. Rakhine and Karen also reside in Yangon. The majority of the population are of Burman descent.
Just as it is diverse in ethnicities, there are also several religions that are practiced within the city. These include Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. The city’s property is the most expensive in the country, with very few able to afford the rent within the city center.
Yangon was founded during the 11th century with the name Dagon. The city got its start as a fishing village. It was later captured in 1755, which is when the name was changed and additional settlements were added. The city had to be rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire in the 1800s.
The British took over the city during the Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. The city was then made into a commercial and political hub. The late 1800s saw significant growth in population, as well as developments including colleges and hospitals.
Leading up to the 20th century, the city had upgraded its infrastructure and public services to be on par with the city of London. The population heading into World War II was significantly diverse, with large numbers of Indians and South Asians. The city was named as the capital of the Union of Burma in 1948 and at that time, regained its independence. The names of cities and parks were changed to Burmese names following the city’s independence.
The city has also seen as its fair share of dark times over the years, including the death of protestors killed by the government and Cyclone Nargis, which destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure. Today, the city remains one of the most important commercial centers in the country. It is also a hub for industries including newspapers, advertising, movies and music, although all media content must be approved by government censors and the private sector is not allowed to broadcast on TV. Just in 2012, the Myanmar government abolished the censorship of private publications - after earning a position on a list by Reporters without Borders.
Yangon’s economy is boosted through trade, real estate, industry, media and tourism. The city is responsible for one-fifth of the national economy. Its economy represents 23% of the nation’s GDP. The city is a trading hub for a variety of merchandise, although this is affected by its subpar banking industry and communications infrastructure.
Manufacturing provides many of the jobs to residents of the city. Tourism also contributes greatly to the economy, with about 300,000 to 400,000 visitors coming to the city each year.
Yangon Population Growth
It is difficult to know the exact numbers when it comes to the population of Yangon, but one thing that is known is that the expansion of its city limits over the past few decades have led to significant growth. Historical population figures show that the population hit half a million in 1941 before climbing 160% to over one million less than 10 years later. Each decade after saw significant population growth, ranging from 22.2% to 22.4% annually. The population is expected to surpass 5.3 million in 2020 before climbing to 5.9 million in 2025.