• Mauritius is around the world’s seventeenth most densely populated country, with just over 1.3 million inhabitants and a density of 644 people per square kilometre.

The island is remarkable for its interracial harmony. The mixed population is roughly 68 percent Indo-Mauritian, 27 percent Creole, 3 percent Chinese/Sino-Mauritian and 2 percent Franco-Mauritian.

Hinduism is practised by 48.5 percent of the population; the remainder are mostly Roman Catholic (26.3 percent), Muslim (17.3 percent) and other Christian denominations (6.4 percent).

One of the world’s newer political success stories, Mauritius has maintained a stable parliamentary democracy since independence, with free elections by the National Assembly.

Mauritius has one of the highest average annual incomes in Africa, at US$16,100 per capita. Some 87 percent of Mauritians own their homes and all have access to free education and healthcare. Average life expectancy is 75 years.

As there is little industry on the island, Mauritius has the second cleanest air on earth according to the global air quality ranking issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Mauritius has the third highest number of extinct species of any country in the world. Less than 20 percent of the island’s forest remains, with only 3.3 percent (6574 hectares) under conservation.

The Mauritian national emblem is the dodo, which can be seen on the coat of arms, banknotes and postage stamps. It’s one of the few countries in the world whose national animal is extinct, eradicated by hunting in the seventeenth century.

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