Deciphering Myanmar’s Ethnic Landscape

November 22nd, 2022  •  Author:   International IDEA  •  1 minute read
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A Brief Historical and Ethnic Description of Myanmar’s Administrative Units

Jangai Jap and Constant Courtin

This Report provides a study of the ethnic composition of Myanmar’s subnational units together with an analysis of the historical evolution of the administrative units that existed under the 2008 Constitution.

Relying on the 2019 GAD Township reports, the study addresses the limitation of Myanmar’s ethnic data while discussing its use for understanding Myanmar’s complex ethnic make-up. It describes the ethnic distribution of each subnational unit and emphasizes the complex ethnic make-up of Myanmar society—highlighting Myanmar’s ethnic diversity down to the township level. In parallel, the Report analyses the evolution of Myanmar’s administrative boundaries and highlights the possibility of imagining Myanmar’s federal units beyond the status quo.

This Report provides democratically legitimate political actors in Myanmar, as well as the international community that supports Myanmar’s federal democracy, with a finer understanding of how Myanmar’s diversity is distributed within each subnational unit.

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