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Thursday, August 25, 2016
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While 94% of Vanuatu's population is indigenous Melanesian, it is not one culture, but many. This can be seen by the fact that over 115 different dialects are spoken within the islands. Although there are similarities in culture, each cultural grouping has its own features, traditions and artwork.
The rest of the Vanuatu population comprises: Europeans, reflecting the colonial heritage; Vietnamese from the days of indentured labourers; Chinese and other Pacific Islanders.
Vanuatu's population is very young, with over 40% of the 190,000 people younger than 15. Ni-Vanuatu have a relatively short lifespan of 61 years.
LANGUAGE & EDUCATION
Because of Vanuatu's dual colonial heritage, both English and French are the official languages, along with bislama, a pidgin language, based on English, that is understood by almost everyone. There are also 115 local languages.
Education is expensive and often not physically accessible to childen, particularly in rural areas. Only 61% of children reach class five level at primary school and only 20% go on to high school.
While most of the population is Christian, a small percentage (8%) still follow their indigenous beliefs, which are based on animism. The Christians are mainly Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic, though newer religions are also gaining popularity.