Ethno-demographic grievances define the conflict between Buddhist and Rohingya-Muslim populations in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Nationalistic Buddhist leaders, such as the controversial monk Ashin Wirathu, maintain that the Rohingya population’s rapid growth and high fertility rates threaten to overtake local Buddhist populations, reflecting local Rakhine State sentiments. This study seeks to identify quantitative and qualitative differences between the Rohingya and Buddhist populations in Rakhine State and to elucidate the theoretical and practical implications for Buddhist-Rohingya relations.
Due to the government’s decision to avoid the enumeration of self-identifying Rohingya, this study has relied on several recent local surveys to reconstruct a local demographic description of the Rohingya. The “Demographic Security Dilemma” theory, which specifies expectations for minority-majority conflicts and their resolution, will be used to discuss the relevant forces that underlie the Buddhist-Rohingya conflict.