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Burmese in Myanmar (Burma)


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Burmese in Myanmar (Burma) map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
31,044,000 Burmese Buddhism 0.35 % 0.08 %   

Burmese in Myanmar (Burma)

People Group Video [7]
Source:  The Waiting WorldWatchDownload
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Introduction / History
The Burmese are the majority and dominant people of the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar or Burma as it was formerly known. The Burmese or Burma people were originally from the hills of Tibet in western China. Today, they live in Myanmar, and they speak Burmese, a Tibeto-Burmese language.

In modern times, Myanmar has had a long history of coups, wars, and rebellions. Ethnic divisions and political unrest have been common since the first Burmese kingdom in the eleventh century. Myanmar gained its independence from Britain in 1948. Much of modern Burmese history has been one of civil wars between the Burmese majority and the nation's minority groups that includes the Shan, Karen, Lahu, and Rohingya. The military launched another coup in 2021 and is at the time of this writing ruling the country.

What are their lives like?
Rice is the stable food of the Burmese people. Burmese farmers grow rice in irrigated fields called wet rice farming. They also cultivate tropical fruits, vegetables, palm tree, and coconuts. Most rural families also raise chickens, and a few goats and pigs to supplement their diets. Some Burmese farmers use the slash and burn method of agriculture. With this process, the fields are cut and burned before any new crops are planted. A Burmese farmer often uses cattle and buffalo to draw heavy wooden plows. It is a daily, arduous task for a Burmese family to go out into the fields to grow the family's rice. Mothers work with their babies, while the older children accompany their grandparents. In rural areas, children frequently quit school after a few years to help their family make a living.

Urban Burmese live lives much like they do in Western nations. They work in education, retail, manufacturing, construction, and administration.

The Burmese do not recognize clans or lineages. Marriages are monogamous, and rarely arranged by the parents. Young couples generally live with the bride's parents for the first few years after they are married. Then they will set up their own homes after two or three years.

Various types of houses can be found in the Burmese villages. The wealthier people often live in sturdy, mahogany homes that are raised off the ground and have plank floors and tile roofs. Those with lower incomes may live in thatched roof, bamboo houses that have dirt floors. All activities take place on the dirt floors, including eating and sleeping. Therefore, it is impolite to enter a Burmese house wearing shoes.

The single most important social institution in the village is the Buddhist temple. It symbolizes unity among the villagers and provides a wide variety of activities for the people. The Burmese have a rich tradition of dance, music, poetry, and arts. It is a great honor for a son of a Burmese family to enter a Buddhist monastery.

What are their beliefs?
The Burmese are predominantly Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to Nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Burmese have mixed these Buddhist beliefs with their own animistic beliefs (belief that non-living objects have spirits).

Their animistic beliefs center around inherently evil spirits called nats. The Burmese spend their lives trying to appease the nats so they will be protected from any other evil spirits that may seek to harm them. Typical Burmese homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha. The village shaman connects the people to the spiritual world. He provides amulets and charms which are supposed to protect the people.

According to their Buddhist faith, the Burmese believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, death is simply a "passing" from one life to another. Buddhists believe that those with less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals, or inhabitants of hell.

What are their needs?
Christians make up only a tiny fraction of the Burmese people. Teams of believers can go to villages and provide modern medicine and improved agricultural techniques. Many villages lack electricity so solar panels would greatly benefit the rural Burmese. Most of all, the Burmese need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and free them from their fear of evil spirits.

Prayer Points
Pray that the few Burmese believers would live holy lives, being zealous to grow into the image of Christ.

Ask the Lord to send Holy Spirit anointed workers to the Burmese.

Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Burmese and a desire to read the Burmese Bible.

Pray for just and lasting peace in Myanmar especially between the Burmese and the Rohingya peoples.

Pray for a growing disciple making movement among the Burmese in this decade.

View Burmese in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-07-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-06-08
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-06-05
Prayer Links
The Waiting World - The Burmese
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Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:14 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Widespread in central Myanmar.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Burmese
People Name General: Burmese
Alternate People Names:
Myan, MyenMyanmas
ROP3 Code: 101776
Joshua Project People ID: 11029
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 31,044,000
Population all Countries: 31,726,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Burmese
People Name General: Burmese
Ethnic Code: MSY50b
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Burmese (31,044,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mya    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Theravada
Major Religions:
Buddhism94.95 % 
Christianity0.35 %(Evangelical: 0.08 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam4.30 % 
Non-Religious0.40 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1815-1985
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1835-2014
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Burmese
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGospel resources links
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Text / Printed MatterBible: Burmese
Text / Printed MatterBible: Burmese
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Burmese
Text / Printed MatterLove letter to you from scripture
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Burmese in Myanmar (Burma)

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Burmese     Asia, Southeast    
      Burmese Myanmar (Burma)    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Burmese in Myanmar (Burma)          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Burmese  
    All Religions                              

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