Surinamese people
Total population
c. 1,000,000
Regions with significant populations
French Guiana32,412[5]
United States14,555[5]
Dutch, Sranan Tongo[a], Sarnami Hindustani, English, Ndyuka, Saramaccan, Matawai, Aluku, Paramaccan, Kwinti, Surinamese-Javanese, Chinese, Hakka, Akurio, Arawak-Lokono, Carib-Kari'nja, Sikiana-Kashuyana, Tiro-Tiriyó, Waiwai, Warao, Wayana
Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Winti, Kejawèn, Indigenous Amerindian religion, Irreligious

Surinamese people are people who identify with the country of Suriname. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Surinamese, several (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Surinamese.

Suriname is a multiethnic and multilingual society, home to people of various ethnic, racial, religious, and national origins, with the majority of the population made up of Old World immigrants and their descendants. As a result, the Surinamese do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance to Suriname. Aside from the indigenous population, nearly all Surinamese or their ancestors arrived since the Age of Discovery and establishment of the colony of Surinam, primarily from Africa, Europe and Asia.

Ethnic groups

The population of Suriname is made up of various distinguishable ethnic groups:


Most of the inhabitants live in the north of the country, in the districts of Paramaribo, Wanica and Nickerie. The least populated county is Sipaliwini, which covers most of the nation's interior and is sparsely inhabited. More than half of the population lives in and around the capital.


Further information: Surinamese people in the Netherlands

Migration to the Netherlands began during the colonial era. Initially this was mainly the colonial elite but expanded during the 1920s and 1930s to include other inhabitants looking for better education, employment, or other opportunities.[14]

Approximately 350,000 individuals of Surinamese descent now live in the Netherlands, with mass migration beginning in the years leading up to Suriname's independence in 1975, and continuing during military rule in the 1980s and for largely economic reasons extended throughout the 1990s. Other emigration destinations include French Guiana and the United States.


In Suriname, there are no fewer than twenty languages spoken. Most Surinamese are multilingual. In terms of numbers of speakers are the main languages in Suriname, successively the Dutch language, Sranan Tongo (Surinamese Creole), Sarnami (Surinamese Hindustani), Surinamese-Javanese, and different Maroon languages (especially Saramaccan and Aukan). Since most Surinamese people are multilingual (for instance Dutch and Sranan Tongo), the society functions as a diglossia, where Dutch is the standardized and formal prestige register and Sranan Tongo generally the informal street vernacular.[15] Dutch serves as the language of law, government, business, media and education.[16]

According to the results of the seventh general population and housing census, which was held in 2004, Dutch is the most spoken home language in the country, at around 60% of the population speaking it at home.[17] A further 24% of the population speaks Dutch as a second language.[18][17] Sranan Tongo, is spoken primarily as a second language in 46% of households, along with 22% Sarnami Hindustani and 11% Javanese.


The following religious statistics have been reported as of 2012:[19]


  1. ^ As Surinamese is primarily a national identity made up of various ethnic and religious groups, a large number of mutually unintelligible languages are spoken in the country and by the Surinamese diaspora. Other than Dutch and Sranan Tongo, these are not spoken by the majority but rather only within the racial or ethnic minority group, even though Sranan Tongo is mostly spoken by the Creoles. Dutch, as the language of law, education, media and business, and Sranan Tongo, as the most widely spoken vernacular.
  1. ^ "World Population Prospects 2022". United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  2. ^ "World Population Prospects 2022: Demographic indicators by region, subregion and country, annually for 1950-2100" (XSLX) ("Total Population, as of 1 July (thousands)"). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  3. ^ "CBS StatLine - Bevolking; generatie, geslacht, leeftijd en , 1 januari". Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  4. ^ "The Netherlands and Suriname are closely linked". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d International Organization for Migration
  6. ^ Radio 10. "Precieze cijfers illegale Surinamers in België nu in kaart gebracht"
  7. ^ "Guyana Migration Profiles" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Surinamers op Aruba". Parbode. Archived from the original on 2016-08-25. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Immigrant and Emigrant Populations by Country of Origin and Destination".
  10. ^ "Surinamesi in Italia 2023". Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  11. ^ (in Indonesian)Orang Jawa di Suriname (Javanese in Suriname) Archived 2011-03-16 at the Wayback Machine, kompasiana. Access date:26 March 2011
  12. ^ Romero, Simon. "With Aid and Migrants, China Expands Its Presence in a South American Nation", The New York Times, 10 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Census statistieken 2012". Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  14. ^ Gert Oostindie en Emy Maduro, In het land van de overheerser - II - Antillianen en Surinamers in Nederland 1634/1667-1954 (KITLV; Leiden 1986)
  15. ^ Romero, Simon (23 March 2008). "In Babel of Tongues, Suriname Seeks Itself". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Suriname". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Het Nederlandse taalgebied" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Taalunie. 2005. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  18. ^ Source: Zevende algemene volks- en woningtelling 2004, Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek
  19. ^ 2012 Suriname Census Definitive Results. Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek – Suriname.