Singapore
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Country Profile: Singapore

A Closer Look at... Singapore
OFFICIAL NAME
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Republic of Singapore
GEOGRAPHY
Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia
AREA
683 sq. km / 264 sq. miles
COMPARATIVE
a little larger than half the size of Rhode Island
POPULATION
4,000,000
CAPITAL
N/A
LITERACY
99.5% (age 15+ and can read and write)
LANGUAGE

There are four official languages:

1. Malay: Mostly restricted to the Malay community.

2. Tamil: Tamil is the main Indian language, though Malayalam and Hindi are also spoken.

3. English: English is widespread. Children are taught in English at school but also learn their mother tongue to make sure they don't lose contact with their traditions. The only communication problem English-speakers are likely to have in Singapore is with older Singaporeans who did not learn English at school, though trying to understand the unique patois called Singlish - which uses a clipped form of English mixed with Malay and Hokkien words - can be taxing.

4. C hinese (Mandarin): C hinese dialects, such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hainanese and Hakka, are still widely spoken. The government's long-standing campaign to promote Mandarin has been very successful and increasing numbers of C hinese now speak Mandarin at home.

RELIGION

Buddhist - 42%
Muslim -15%
Christian - 14%
Taoist - 9%
Hindu - 4%

POLITICS
Democracy with an elected President
INCOME
Per capita income US$ 36,979 per year
CURRENCY
Singapore Dollar (S$)
TIME ZONE
GMT/UTC +8
SOURCES
Statistics provided by a variety of sources, but mostly the U.S. State Department, the U.N. Statistics Division, and BBC News.

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