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Madagascar > Tourist information > Population and lifestyle


The island is home to about 18.000.000 inhabitants - half of them are less than 20 - composed of 18 ethnic groups. French and other Europeans, Chinese, Comorians, and Indo-Pakistanis are the main foreign communities. Those people live in harmony together. People of French origin who have lived in Madagascar for several generations are called Zanatany. 


Antananarivo and surroundings has a population of about 2 million inhabitants.

Taboos and Prohibitions 

The Malagasy population is known for being pacifist and tolerant. They are strongly 

attached to their customs and practices, namely in villages and rural communities. 

Therefore, be respectful of traditions, and in particular of elderly people and respect 

local taboos and prohibitions scrupulously.  


For example, there are communities who do not like their children’s heads to be caressed.  


Before taking photographs of a person or a group of people, please ask for their permission first. 


Lastly, nudism is not allowed on beaches. 



the human scene in madagascar : people, children, tombs, transplanting rice and more

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Madagascar Population, Madagascar people and ethnic groups, Madagascar travel directory and travel guide