Brunei has a hereditary nobility with the title Pengiran (commonly translated as Sultan). The Sultan can award to commoners the title Pehin, the equivalent of a life peerage awarded in the United Kingdom. The Sultan also can award his subjects the Dato, the equivalent of a knighthood in the United Kingdom, and Datin, the equivalent of a damehood.
Bruneians adhere to the practice of using complete full names with all titles, including the title Haji (for men) or Hajjah (for women) for those who have made the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Many Brunei Malay women wear the tudong, a traditional head covering. Men wear the songkok, a traditional Malay cap. Men who have completed the Haj wear a white songkok.
The requirements to attain Brunei citizenship include passing tests in Malay culture, customs, and language. Stateless permanent residents of Brunei are given International Certificates of Identity, which allow them to travel overseas. The majority of Brunei's Chinese are permanent residents, and many are stateless.
Oil wealth allows the Brunei Government to provide the population with one of Asia's finest health care systems. The Brunei Medical and Health Department introduced the region's first government "flying doctor service" in early 1965. Malaria has been eradicated, and cholera is virtually nonexistent. There are three general hospitals--in Bandar Seri Begawan, Tutong, and Kuala Belait--and there are numerous health clinics throughout the country.
Education starts with preschool, followed by 6 years of primary education and up to 6 years of secondary education. Nine years of education are mandatory. Most of Brunei's college students attend universities and other institutions abroad, but approximately 2,542 study at the University of Brunei Darussalam. Opened in 1985, the university has a faculty of over 300 instructors and is located on a sprawling campus at Tungku, overlooking the South China Sea.
The official language is Malay, but English is widely understood and used in business. Other languages spoken are several Chinese dialects, Iban, and a number of native dialects. Islam is the official religion, but religious freedom is guaranteed under the constitution.
Population: 336,376 (July 2000 est.)
0-14 years: 31% (male 53,812; female 51,628)
15-64 years: 66% (male 118,207; female 103,819)
65 years and over: 3% (male 4,317; female 4,593) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.17% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 20.81 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 3.39 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 14.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.58 years
male: 71.23 years
female: 76.06 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.47 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Ethnic groups: Malay 62%, Chinese 15%, indigenous 6%, other 17%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.2%
female: 83.4% (1995 est.)