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Demography

Sabah’s ethnic diversity among its indigenous people is perhaps its most remarkable feature in a population that is relatively small in proportion to its land area. Basically, the people of Sabah comprises the Kadazandusuns, the Bajaus, the Muruts, the Malays, other indigenous, the Chinese and others.

The majority (65 percent) of the people, especially the indigenous, are still rural based. Most of them tend to follow their traditional pattern of occupation — agro-based activities.

The age structure of Sabah’s population is relatively young — with more than 35 percent under the age of fifteen. The population, estimated at 2.9 million in 1999, had increased by more than 5 percent per year over the 1980-1991 period. This is largely contributed by the influx of transient workers and illegal immigrants from Southern Philippines and Indonesia. The high fertility rate of these transients also contributed to the very young structure of the population.

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