Ayeyarwady Region

Ayeyarwady Region (Burmese: ဧရာဝတီတိုင်းဒေသကြီး [ʔèjàwədì táiɰ̃ dèθa̰ dʑí], S'gaw Karen: ထံထၣ်စွ့, Pwo Western Karen: ထံၫထၪကျိၩ့; formerly Ayeyarwady Division and Irrawaddy Division), is a region of Myanmar, occupying the delta region of the Ayeyarwady River (Irrawaddy River). It is bordered by Bago Region to the north, Bago Region and Yangon Region to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the south and west. It is contiguous with the Rakhine State in the northwest.

Ayeyarwady Region
Myanma transcription(s)
 • Burmeseei:rawa.ti tuing: desa. kri:
Flag of Ayeyarwady Region
Official seal of Ayeyarwady Region
Location of Ayeyarwady Region in Myanmar
Location of Ayeyarwady Region in Myanmar
Coordinates: 16°50′N 95°10′E / 16.833°N 95.167°E / 16.833; 95.167
Country Myanmar
 • Chief MinisterTin Maung Win
 • CabinetAyeyarwady Region Government
 • LegislatureAyeyarwady Region Hluttaw
 • JudiciaryAyeyarwady Region High Court
 • Total35,140 km2 (13,570 sq mi)
 • Rank10th
Highest elevation1,225 m (4,019 ft)
 • Total6,184,829
 • Rank2nd
 • Density180/km2 (460/sq mi)
 • EthnicitiesBamar, Rakhine, Indians, Karen
 • ReligionsBuddhism 92.1%
Christianity 6.3%
Islam 1.4%
Hinduism 0.1%
Others 0.1%
Time zoneUTC+06:30 (MST)
HDI (2017)0.530[2]
low · 11th

The region lies between approximately latitude 15° 40' and 18° 30' north and between longitude 94° 15' and 96° 15' east. It has an area of 35,140 square kilometres (13,566 sq mi). The estimated 2022 population is more than 6.5 million. According to the 2014 Burmese National Census the population of the Ayeyarwady Region was 6,184,829, making it the second most populous of Burma's states and regions after Yangon Region.

Ayeyarwady Region is flanked by the Rakhine Yoma (Arakan Mountains) range in the west. Large areas have been cleared for paddy cultivation, leading to its preeminent position as the main rice producer in the country, a position it has retained into the 21st century.

It has also a number of lakes. Of the rivers branching out from the mighty Ayeyarwady, Ngawun, Pathein and Toe are famous.

The capital city of Ayeyarwady division is Pathein.

Chaungtha Beach and Ngwesaung Beach are popular resorts for both foreigners and the Burmese. They are in the west of the Ayeyarwady Region, an hour from Pathein city and four hours from Yangon city by road.


Historical population
1973 4,156,673—    
1983 4,994,061+20.1%
2014 6,184,829+23.8%
Source: 2014 Myanmar Census[1]

Bamar and Karen form the majority of the population, with a small minority of Rakhine in western coastal regions. Burmese is the lingua franca. The majority of the people are Buddhist, with small minorities of Christians, Muslims, Hindu and Baháʼís.


Religion in Ayeyarwady Region (2014)[3]

  Buddhism (92.1%)
  Christianity (6.3%)
  Islam (1.4%)
  Other religion (0.1%)
  Hinduism (0.1%)

According to the 2014 Myanmar Census, Buddhists make up 92.2% of Ayeyawady Region's population, forming the largest religious community there.[4] Minority religious communities include Christians (6.3%), Muslims (1.4%), and Hindus (0.1%) who collectively comprise the remainder of Ayeyawady Region's population.[4] 0.1% of the population listed no religion, other religions, or were otherwise not enumerated.[4]

According to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee's 2016 statistics, 42,494 Buddhist monks were registered in Ayeyawady Region, comprising 7.9% of Myanmar's total Sangha membership, which includes both novice samanera and fully-ordained bhikkhu.[5] The majority of monks belong to the Thudhamma Nikaya (80.1%), followed by Shwegyin Nikaya (8.3%), with the remainder of monks belonging to other small monastic orders.[5] 5,520 thilashin were registered in Ayeyawady Region, comprising 9.1% of Myanmar's total thilashin community.[5]


Chaungtha Beach is an important tourist destination in Ayeyarwady Region.

Ayeyarwady Region is heavily forested and wood products are an important component of the economy. The principal crop of Ayeyarwady Region is rice, and the division is called the “granary of Burma.” In addition to rice, other crops include maize, sesame, groundnut, sunflower, beans, pulses, and jute. Fishery is also important; Ayeyarwady Region produces fish, prawn, fish-paste, dry fish, dry prawn, and fish sauce.

Despite the importance of agriculture to the region, landlessness is high in rural households. Most farms are small; nearly half are under 5 acres. Rice paddy agriculture is dominant during the monsoon but irrigation is limited, especially in smaller farms, during the dry season. Seeds are sourced from own reserves rather than from specialized traders. Yields from farms average 3.3 tons per hectacre, lower than other Asian countries.[6]

Ayeyarwady Region also has considerable tourist potential. The city of Pathein has numerous historic sights and temples. Outside Pathein are the beach resorts of Chaungtha Beach and the lake resort of Inye Lake. Inye lake is located in Kyonpyaw township, 59 miles (95 km) north east of Pathein. Inye lake is also well known for fishery, as the major supplier of fresh water fish. Chaungtha is located in Pathein township. However, hotel and transportation infrastructure is still very poorly developed.


The Ayeyarwady delta region was traditionally part of the Mon kingdom. This area fell under Burmese (and occasional Rakhine) rule from the 11th century AD. Its subsequent history mirrors that of the rest of lower Burma.

An ancient overland pre-Tang trade route from Sichuan (modern Yunnan Province) to Bengal passed through Ayeyarwady.[7]

Cyclone NargisEdit

Satellite photography of the Irrawaddy Delta before (top) and after (bottom) Nargis hit the area.

Ayeyarwady Region was the site of heavy devastation when Cyclone Nargis made landfall in early May 2008. The cyclone made landfall on the town of Wagon near Haigyi Island.[8] Labutta Township was most heavily struck with around 80,000 deaths. The cyclone's path devastated the low-lying delta regions going through south-central Ayeyarwady Region and Bogale before entering neighbouring Yangon Region. Nargis was the most expensive tropical cyclone on record in the North Indian Ocean at the time, costing $12 billion in aid.[9]

Burma's state-controlled news media reported that Nargis left more than 66,000 people dead or missing after it struck the Irrawaddy Delta region May 2, unleashing torrential rains, 120 mph sustained winds and a 12-foot (3.7 m) storm surge. Foreign relief officials and diplomats said the death toll could exceed 100,000[10] making it the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar[11] The final death toll was at least 146,000 with 90,000 confirmed dead and 56,000 or more missing.[12]

Administrative divisionsEdit

8 districts of Ayeyarwady

Ayeyarwady Region consists of eight districts:

Labutta District was formed in August 2008, three months after Cyclone Nargis hit the region. Kyonpyaw District and Myanaung District are the newest districts, formed in 2019 in the lead up to the 2020 Elections

Pathein is the capital city and capital. The region consists of 26 townships and 29 cities. In the townships there are 219 wards, 1912 village groups and 11651 villages.



Ayeyarwady Region Government



Ayeyarwady Region High Court


Ayeyarwady Region is served by Pathein Airport.


  • Bo Myat Tun Bridge (Nyaungdon)
  • Daydalu Bridge (Pyapon)
  • Dedaye Bridge (Kungyangon Township in Yangon Region and Dedaye Township in Ayeyawady Region)
  • Gonnhindan Bridge
  • Kanyin Bridge (Mezaligone)
  • Khattiya Bridge (Maubin)
  • Kyauk Chaung Gyi Bridge (Pathein)
  • Kyungon Bridge
  • Labutta Bridge
  • Maubin Bridge (Maubin)
  • Maung Bi Wa Bridge (Pathein)
  • Mayan Ngu Bridge (Myaungmya)
  • Myaungmya Bridge (Myaungmya)
  • Natchaung Bridge (Bogalay)
  • Nga Wun Bridge (Myokwin)(Ingapu)
  • Ngathaingchaung Bridge
  • Pinlelay Bridge
  • Seikma Bridge (Bogalay)
  • Shwelaung Bridge
  • Thegon Bridge (Kyaunggon Township and Kangyidaunk Township)
  • Uto Bridge
  • Wakema Bridge


Educational opportunities in Myanmar are extremely limited outside the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay. According to official statistics, less than 10% of primary school students in the division reach high school.[13]

AY 2002–2003 Primary Middle High
Schools 5623 270 102
Teachers 17,600 5700 1800
Students 708,000 181,000 61,000

Pathein University is the main university in the state, and until recently the only four-year university in the state. In recent years, the military government, which closed down universities and colleges in the 1990s to quell student unrest, has "upgraded" former colleges and two-year institutes. The government now requires that students attend their local universities and colleges, such as Hinthada University and Maubin University.

Health careEdit

The general state of health care in Myanmar is poor. The military government spends anywhere from 0.5% to 3% of the country's GDP on health care, consistently ranking among the lowest in the world.[14][15] Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment. Moreover, the health care infrastructure outside of Yangon and Mandalay is extremely poor. For example, in 2003, Ayeyarwady Region had less than a quarter of hospital beds than Yangon Region although Ayeyarwady Region had a slightly greater population.[16]

2002–2003 # Hospitals # Beds
Specialist hospitals 0 0
General hospitals with specialist services 2 450
General hospitals 24 910
Health clinics 45 720
Total 71 2080



  1. ^ a b Census Report. The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census. Vol. 2. Naypyitaw: Ministry of Immigration and Population. May 2015. p. 17.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ Department of Population Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population MYANMAR (July 2016). The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census Census Report Volume 2-C. Department of Population Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population MYANMAR. pp. 12–15.
  4. ^ a b c The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census Census Report Volume 2-C (PDF). Department of Population Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population. July 2016. pp. 12–15.
  5. ^ a b c "The Account of Wazo Monks and Nuns in 1377 (2016 year)". State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. 2016. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  6. ^ Cho, Ame; Belton, Ben; Boughton, Duncan (August 2017). "Crop Production and Profitability in Ayeyarwady and Yangon". Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy (66). Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  7. ^ Schafer, Edward H. (1963). The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of Tang Exotics. University of California Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-520-05462-2.
  8. ^ "2008- Cyclone Nargis". Hurricanes: Science and Society. The University of Rhode Island. 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  9. ^ "Asian bloc to handle Burma aid". Toronto Star. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  10. ^ Burma Rejects Large Scale Relief Effort
  11. ^ "80,000 dead in one Burma province" Archived 17 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Australian, 9 May 2008
  12. ^ "Myanmar cyclone dead will 'never' be identified". CNN. 8 June 2008. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Education statistics by level and by State and Division". Myanmar Central Statistical Organization. Archived from the original on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  14. ^ "PPI: Almost Half of All World Health Spending is in the United States". 2007-01-17. Archived from the original on 2011-04-27.
  15. ^ Yasmin Anwar (2007-06-28). "Burma junta faulted for rampant diseases". UC Berkeley News.
  16. ^ "Hospitals and Dispensaries by State and Division". Myanmar Central Statistical Organization. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2009-04-11.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ayeyarwady Region at Wikimedia Commons