People Group

The Rakhine People in Myanmar

  • Population 2,717,000
  • Location: Myanmar
  • Main Language: Rakhine
  • Main Religion: Buddhism
  • Status: Unreached (0.1% Christian)


The Rakhine people used to live in Myanmar, but now many are settled just over the border in the hills of south eastern Bangladesh. Their language is closely related to Burmese. In fact, the written forms of Rakhine and standard Burmese are almost identical.

Although 89% of Bangladeshi people identify as Muslim, most Rakhine people are Buddhist. For generations they have remained faithful to their Buddhist traditions, even claiming to be the first followers of Gautama Buddha in all of Southeast Asia. While Burmese Bibles are available, the community has been largely unreceptive to God’s Word, with only 3% of the Rakhine people in Bangladesh professing faith in Jesus.


Photo: Steve Evans │ Words: Becca Coon