Before You Go
Travel Planning

Facts at a Glance
Myanmar (Burma)


Tuk-Tuks, Temples
and Thai Boxing

Ayutthaya -
the Ancient Capital

Phnom Penh and
The Killing Fields

Faces of the Jungle
Angkor Wat and
the Khmer Dancers

Temples Amid the Vines
Sunset on the City

Nong Khai
Joe's Lament

The Gateway to Laos

Luang Prabang
Kingdom of a Million Elephants
Bicycle Tour
The Pak Ou Caves

The Mekong
A Journey up the Mekong

The Golden Triangle
Opium Scales and
Tiger Skins

Chiang Mai
Wats, Wats
and a Backrub

Hilltribes, Inc.
Temple on the Hill

Facts at a Glance: Myanmar (Burma)
(From the CIA World Factbook)


Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Geographic coordinates: 22 00 N, 98 00 E

total : 678,500 sq km
land: 657,740 sq km
water: 20,760 sq km

Area (comparative): slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 5,876 km
border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline: 1,930 km

Climate: tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain: central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m
highest point : Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas

Land use:
arable land : 15%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 49%
other: 34% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10,680 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Environment - current issues: deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease


Population: 46,821,943 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% (male 8,743,108; female 8,410,224)
15-64 years: 59% (male 13,878,541; female 13,859,783)
65 years and over : 4% (male 873,670; female 1,056,617) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.81% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 29.54 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 11.41 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 78.5 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.62 years
male: 54.89 years
female: 58.45 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.76 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese

Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, other 5%

Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist beliefs 1%, other 2%

Languages: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.1%
male: 88.7%
female: 77.7% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Union of Burma
conventional short form: Burma
local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar)
local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma

Government type: military regime

National capital: Rangoon (regime refers to the capital as Yangon)

Independence: 4 January 1948 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 January (1948)

Executive branch:
chief of state: Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note - the prime minister is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government : Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note - the prime minister is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: State Law and Order Restoration Council; military junta which assumed power 18 September 1988
elections: none; the prime minister assumed power upon resignation of the former prime minister


Economy - overview: Burma has a mixed economy with private activity dominant in agriculture, light industry, and transport, and with substantial state-controlled activity, mainly in energy, heavy industry, and the rice trade. Government policy in the last eight years, 1989-96, has aimed at revitalizing the economy after three decades of tight central planning. Thus, private activity has markedly increased; foreign investment has been encouraged, so far with moderate success; and efforts continue to increase the efficiency of state enterprises. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the volume of black-market trade. A major ongoing problem is the failure to achieve monetary and fiscal stability. Although Burma remains a poor Asian country, its rich resources furnish the potential for substantial long-term increases in income, exports, and living standards.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $51.5 billion (1996 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 7% (1996 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,120 (1996 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 63%
industry: 9%
services : 28% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 30%-40% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 16.007 million (1992)
by occupation: agriculture 65.2%, industry 14.3%, trade 10.1%, government 6.3%, other 4.1% (FY88/89 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $5.3 billion
expenditures : $10 billion, including capital expenditures of $3 billion (1995 est.)

Industries: agricultural processing; textiles and footwear; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer

Industrial production growth rate: 8.9% (FY94/95 est.)

Agriculture - products: paddy rice, corn, oilseed, sugarcane, pulses; hardwood

total value: $1.1 billion (1996 est.)
commodities: rice, pulses and beans, teak, rubber, hardwood
partners: Singapore, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan

total value : $2 billion (1996 est.)
commodities: machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, food products, consumer goods
partners: Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand

Debt - external: $5.5 billion (FY94/95 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $61 million (1993)

Currency: 1 kyat (K) = 100 pyas

Exchange rates: kyats (K) per US$1 - 6.0600 (1997), 5.9176 (1996), 5.6670 (1995), 5.9749 (1994), 6.1570 (1993), 6.1045 (1992); unofficial - 160-170 (1996)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: world's largest illicit producer of opium (2,560 metric tons in 1996 - a 9% increase over 1995) and a minor producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; surrender of drug warlord KHUN SA's Mong Tai Army in January 1996 was hailed by Rangoon as a major counternarcotics success, but lack of serious government commitment and resources continue to hinder the overall antidrug effort; growing role in the production of methamphetamines for regional consumption