Straits Settlements - Population


The following are the area and population, with details of race distribution, of the colony of the Straits Settlements, the figures being those of the census of 1901:

Area in square miles Population in 1891 Population in 1901
Total Europeans Eurasians Chinese Malays Indians Other nationalities
Singapore 206 184,554 228,555 3,824 4,120 164,041 36,080 17,823 2,667
Penang, Province Wellesley and Dindings 381 235,618 248,207 1,160 1,945 98,424 106,000 38,051 2,627
Malacca 659 92,170 95,487 74 1,598 19,468 72,978 1,276 93
Total 1,246 512,342 572,249 5,058 7,663 281,933 215,058 57,150 5,387

The population, which was 306,775 in 1871 and 423,384 in 1881, had in 1901 reached a total of 572,249. As in former years, the increase was solely due to immigration, more especially of Chinese, though a considerable number of Tamils and other natives of India settled in the Straits Settlements. The total number of births registered in the colony in 1900 was 14,814, and the ratio per 1000 of the population during 1896, 1897 and 1898 respectively was 22-18, 20-82 and 21-57; while the number of registered deaths for the years 1896-1900 gave a ratio per 1000 of 42-21, 36-90, 30-43, 31-66 and 36-25 respectively, the number of deaths registered during 1900 being 23,385. The cause to which the excess of deaths over births is to be attributed is to be found in the fact that the Chinese and Indian population, which numbers 339,083, or over 59% of the whole, is composed of 261,412 males and only 77,671 females, and a comparatively small number of the latter were married women and mothers of families. The male Europeans also outnumbered the females by about two to one; and among the Malays and Eurasians, who alone had a fair proportion of both sexes, the infant mortality was excessive, due to early marriages and other well-known causes. The number of immigrants landing in the various settlements during 1906 was:

Singapore 176,587 Chinese; Penang 56,333 Chinese and 52,041 natives of India; and Malacca 598 Chinese. The total number of immigrants for 1906 was therefore 285,560, as against 39,136 emigrants, mostly Chinese returning to China. In 1867, the date of the transfer of the colony from the East India Company to the Crown, the total population was estimated at 283,384.

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