Before you head off to Maldives, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about the Maldives people and the culture that you might experience while you are there.
This country is made up of more than 1,000 islands, but only about 185 of those islands are populated.
For many years, the Maldives has been a tourist destination, but there are many people who make the area their home, especially on the capital island of Male.
Let’s take a closer look at the people of the Maldives Islands.
Maldives Population Overview
The Republic of Maldives, and the total population, might surprise you. Since it’s a set of islands in the Indian Ocean, many people assume that the population is limited, or just made up of small villages.
While there can be some truth to that, there really is a fairly large number of Maldivians that take up residence on the Maldives Islands. It’s nowhere near the 20 million+ people in Sri Lanka, but these 185 islands have a population of about 550,000 Maldivian people.
This number shows steady Maldives population growth from the approximately 345,000 population of Maldives from 2013.
This number are the true Maldivian natives and does not take tourism numbers into account. This population number is made up of approximately 40% women and 60% male.
The life expectancy statistics measure up to an average of 78 years for men and women of the island.
The Maldives world bank shares details about their economy, which we will take a closer look at later in this guide.
The Maldives local people are a mix of Arabs, Indians that have moved from Sri Lanka, and families that have traveled from North African areas to settle in Maldives.
The ethnicity of Maldivians combines into one strong and diverse community. The majority of citizens are islanders by birth and their families have been a part of this cultural dynasty for as long as they can trace their history back.
The people of Maldives have come from these primary regions:
- Arab areas
- African countries
- Parts of India
The cultural details are diverse, but the majority of the people are Muslims, as this is a Muslim country. This means that the nation abides primarily by Muslim traditions. Tourists are expected to be respectful of the culture in certain aspects, such as the Maldives dress code.
The Indian Ocean surrounds the country, making it a rich fishing area. Here you can learn more about fishing in Maldives. Much of their tourism provisions, and even top foods come directly from the Indian Ocean around Maldives.
While there is a heavy Indian population on the Maldives Islands, the country is prominently Muslim. Maldives, particularly Male, follows Muslim rituals.
You will see local men and women dressed according to the national Maldives religion. You will also notice services and political affiliations to Islam because of the country’s religious stance.
That being said, they are a friendly and welcoming group. Tourists come all year long and see very few issues as such.
In the capital Malé, and within other public sector areas, there is a dress code expectation, but it’s not overbearing and your family can easily adhere to it.
Maldives People Development and History
We’ve already mentioned that a large number of people have come here from India, Africa, and some other countries too. However, that is all part of their overall development and the growth of their population.
The people of Maldives are a friendly group, with some diversity in the mix. This tropical paradise isn’t all about the beautiful sights of the atolls or the sea and fish around you, but also about the people.
The country’s people rely on tourism for their economy, and the Maldivians welcome you.
The Maldivian people are officially called Dhivehi. Dhivehi refers to the islanders that herald from the area. They work closely with other countries, such as Sri Lanka to export goods and provide for the economy and life in Male and surrounding atoll locations.
The beginnings of the Maldives are harder to trace back to. We know that several Indian family groups migrated to these islands to find areas that were friendly and less populated, and to move far away from British rule. This led to the development of many beautiful tropical islands, and the Maldives locations we know and love today.
It’s said that this nation has been around for more than 2500 years now.
The people of Maldives do have their own language in the country. Maldivians speak Dhivehi, which coincides with the title of the Maldivians as well. This language is composed of Indo and Aryan aspects to bring together the best of the people of Maldives.
If you study the language, you find that it originates from Sanskrit, but has developed into the unique Maldivian language that it is today. The language is its own and is unique to the local Maldivian people. It’s spoken heavily in Male, and across other populated islands throughout the country as well.
Many Maldivians also speak English. They understand the value of Maldives tourism within the country, so many throughout the Maldives island locations have learned English, and it is the second most prominent language, after the original Maldivian language.
Economy and Government
The Maldives is a Muslim island country, which means the government is similar to an Islamic government. The Maldivian government is not as strict as some countries that follow the Islam religion.
The government does have a primary leader, with other offices and positions that work together to support the Maldivian island people, much like any other government out there. The Maldivians have low poverty rates, but the island areas are prone to high levels of debt when you consider the income of the region.
Maldivians rely heavily on tourists to support the economy. As long as tourism stays strong, the Maldives people and the country will also remain strong.
However, with the high reliance on tourism, it does put the country in a vulnerable position, and the World Bank takes note of these fiscal risks.
Some of the other challenges the Maldives people face include the following:
- Heavy dependence on imports for sustainability
- Approximately 4% of people below the poverty line
- Recent global unrest
- High level of subsidies
- Continue inflation
All this being said, Maldives is overall in a strong position. They continue to see economic growth each year, despite the challenges and the reliance on tourism to sustain them.
International Sustainability Efforts
Many of the islands and resorts have actively worked to find means of sustainability around them, rather than relying on the service of the outside group follow through. You will find that they use the resources around them on the land and in the sea to support the nation and the society around it.
Tourism could easily take its toll on the people and the tropical island, but the industry has always been mindful of this possibility. The workers create modern ingenuity to reuse as much as they can, reduce waste, and support the environment, while also being self-sufficient.
From young to old age, the people learn how to make the most of the world around them, and you see this in traditional practices, as well as activities at the various resorts. You might even notice it on menu items with local fare from the sea and land around them.
Maldives Education Details
There was a time when education and higher education were not a right to all people in Maldives. However, that has since changed and the Maldives people have the right to an education at all ages.
The government provides free schooling to all children through the age of 12. There are Islam schools that focus solely on Dhivehi language and teachings, but there are also other schools in Maldives that now teach English too, making 90% of the students English literate.
Students go from grades 1-10 in school, and there is a national curriculum of Maldives that is generally used. Women are allowed to obtain higher education, but very few of them seek additional education after completing Grade 10.
Each family sends their child to school until the appropriate age, and it is actually required up to a certain age.
The tradition of Maldives is to attend in the community, and then either find employment or contribute to the household, as many cultures in this area do.
Folklore and Legend
Now that we’ve covered the Maldives people in aspects of religion, family, cultures, health, and even the bank and economy, let’s take a brief look at some legends and folklore that are a fun part of the history.
Some legends and folklore of the Maldives:
- Maldives people lived on tuna fish and coconut for many ages, and you still see both fish and coconut in many of their primary menu dishes.
- Coconut trees saved the island people of Maldives, thanks to a sorcerer. This is why it’s a national emblem.
- Tuna came to the ocean around the area thanks to a mythical seafarer, and the atoll locations have been plentiful with it ever since.
- The first people to come to Maldives were technologically advanced, which is why the islands have thrived so well.
- The original ruler was a prince named Koimala, who established a successful dynasty.
There are many more stories like this one that you might find or hear about. The truth of them is unknown, but the Maldivian people are very superstitious.
A Land of Ancient Ethnic Beginnings
The Maldives people come together from several external city locations to create one beautiful country. While the income of each family may not seem high, the area is rich in ethnic beginnings, and they are doing quite well for themselves in the service industry.
These are people that welcome you with open arms and are dedicated to their lifestyles at the same time.
Article main image: ©man64/123RF.COM
What are the People of the Maldives Called?
The official term is Dhivehi.
What are People Like in Maldives?
People are friendly and welcoming, while also following their ancient principles founded on the Islam religion.
What is the Culture in Maldives?
People came here and united from areas like Arab, India, and other countries in the region. Many of these are not related, but they found a way to build a culture together.
What Language Do They Speak in Maldives
The Maldives have their own language, which is called Dhivehi. However, it is also very common for the majority of people, especially the young generations, to speak and read English as well now.
Is Maldives Rich or Poor?
In terms of property and city life, the country is a rich country. However, income levels leave approximately 4% of people below the poverty line. They are a humble but rich country in many ways.