Reunion Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Reunion: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, about 850,000 people currently live on Reunion Island, which equates to a population density of about 335 residents per km² given the size of the island.

The islanders are called Reunionaisen. In the coming decades, La Réunion is expected to experience significant population growth.

Ethnic groups

Since the island was uninhabited before the European colonization, the ethnic groups living on La Réunion today are mainly recruited from the first French settlers and the slaves from East Africa, India and Madagascar, who were brought to the island by the settlers. These descendants of the colonial settlers – P’tit Blancs/Yabs as the descendants of the impoverished and Grand Blancs as the agreement of rich French settlers – and the slaves nowadays represent a fairly homogeneous society, called Creoles (French: créoles) on the principle des Metissage is based, i.e. the mixing and harmonious coexistence of different population groups.

These Creoles make up about 45% of the population of Réunion. The people who come from Madagascar and East Africa are called cafres. Furthermore about 25% Indians live on the island; 24% of them are Zarabes (Muslims) and 1% Malbars (Tamils and Hindus). There are also Sinoi (3%) from China on Réunion. The French who have recently immigrated from France are called Z’oreil. They make up about 25%.


Even though French is the only official and written language of La Réunion, the majority of people speak Réunion Creole, a lexical Creole language based on French.

Occasionally, Asian and African languages such as Chinese, Tamil, Gujarati and Malagasy are spoken, which were cultivated and newly learned by the former plantation workers and their descendants. However, these languages are largely restricted to the private sphere of the population groups.


Most of the people of Reunion Island are Roman Catholic Christians. In addition to the 86% Catholics, other Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists live on the island.

Capital and other cities


About 145,000 people live in Saint-Denis, the capital of Réunion. It is located in the north of the island directly on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Slaves were brought to the island from Madagascar, East Africa and India to grow vanilla and sugar cane. When slavery was banned in the 19th century, the immigration of auxiliary workers from the above-mentioned countries was encouraged. The descendants of the former slaves, immigrants and masters now live peacefully together on the island. In the middle of the 18th century, the first stone houses were built in Saint-Denis and the park was created, which extends in the middle of the city with its fountains and palm trees. There are Christian churches, Hindu temples and mosques in Saint-Senis. Most characteristic is certainly the Noor-e-Islam mosque with its striking minaret.

Saint Gilles

Saint Gilles, located on the west coast of the island, has become an attractive holiday destination in recent years.

The local 600,000 liter seawater aquarium at the marina is interesting, in which the typical flora and fauna of the Indian Ocean can be experienced.

Also worth seeing is the local ethno-botanical landscape garden, which presents more than 700 tropical plant species, including numerous aromatic and medicinal plants, on an area of around 7 ha = 70,000 m²


Saint Paul, with its 105,000 residents, is located in the northwest of the island and borders the two mountains Gros Morne and Grand Bénare. Historically interesting is the bay where the French went ashore in 1642 when they took possession of the island for the second time.

When the Saint Charles anchored off Saint-Paul in 1663, La Réunion became the first French settlement in the Indian Ocean. Saint-Paul, the oldest municipality in La Réunion, was the island’s capital until 1738, but then lost this status to Saint-Denis.

The Church of the Conversion of St. Paul is well worth a visit. In 1688 a chapel was consecrated here, which was expanded into a church in 1703. It burned down several times over the years and is now made of lava stones.

The pirate Oliver le Vasseur, who was hanged in 1730 and who had made parts of the Indian Ocean unsafe under the name of “Bussard” (La Buse), was buried in the seaman’s cemetery, which was opened in 1788.

When he was executed, he had thrown an encrypted card under the scaffold on which the place was located His prey was marked – but no treasure was found there.

Last but not least, the grotto of the Premiers Francais, which is located at the southern exit of the village in the rock face opposite the cemetery, is where the island’s first settlers found their first accommodation.

Saint Pierre

The city on the southwestern coast has about 80,000 residents. In addition to a number of churches, the town hall, which is housed in a former granary, is well worth seeing.

There is also a historic candy factory here. Numerous buildings and structures in the city are typical of the colonial style.

An almost macabre sight is the local cemetery, in which the mass murderer Sitarane, who was executed in 1911, was buried and whose grave is decorated by the locals with flowers, burning candles, cigarettes and sugar cane liquor.

One of the reasons for this is that one hopes that this will put one’s soul, which is damned, benevolent. Even with notes buried in the sand you want to draw evil on those people from whom you yourself have learned evil.

Réunion: geography and map

Réunion covers an area of altogether 2,500 km². Around 18% of this is arable land or fields that are particularly used for growing sugar cane, vanilla, tobacco and aromatic plants. The island has a coast to the Indian Ocean with a length of around 210 km. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Reunion.

Longitude and latitude

Réunion lies on average at the following geographical latitude (abbrev. Φ) and geographical longitude (abbrev. Λ):

φ = approximately at 20 ° 52 to 21 ° 23 south latitude λ = approximately at 055 ° 13 ‘to 055 ° 50` east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Réunion, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without summer time). A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = + 3 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Saint Denis

Saint Denis is located at a southern latitude of around φ = 21 °. If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 21 ° south and the image point of the sun is thus exactly above Saint Denis, the sun is vertically above the city. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 10 days before December 21st and 10 days after December 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of Saint Denis, and this is the case for most of the year, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.


The highest mountain in the country is the Piton des Neiges with a height of 3,069 m. Another high mountain is the Piton de la Fournaise with a height of 2,632 m. It is one of the most active volcanoes on earth.


The longest river in the country is the Rivière-du-Mât – with a length of around 35 km.

The Indian Ocean

Réunion is completely enclosed by the Indian Ocean.

Reunion Population