As a result of the implemented colonial labour politics, which emphasized on the preservation of agriculture based on plantations, the population shows a great diversity in cultures. This is caused by the continuously changing of the labour population due to social changes as the abolition of slavery. Latest counts show a population of about 435.000 people in Surinam, divided over a mix of different ethnic backgrounds such as American Indians, Maroons, Chinese, Creole, Europeans, Indians, Brazilians, Lebanese en Javanese. The population is concentrated in the coastal area, where about half of the people live in a 35 kilometre radius around Paramaribo. The rest of the population lives in small settlements along the coast and the rivers.

The Native Americans
The Native Americans are the original inhabitants of Surinam. There are different native tribes, of which the Arrowakes, the Caribee and the Warraus are the best known. Based on where these tribes settled they are generally divided into upland and lowland American Indians. The upland Native Americans primarily live in the inland parts of Surinam. De lowland Indians on the other hand populated the urban areas. Many of them therefore live in the area of Paramaribo.

The Maroons are descendants of run-away slaves from the plantations. After the abolition of slavery they were free to choose their new place of residence. Due to this fact many tribes amalgamated ( = merged) into new tribes.

After the abolition of slavery in 1863 many former slaves continued to work in exchange for payment under state-supervision on the plantations for another 10 years. At the end of this period many of them left for the city. They are also known as ( city )Creole. Nowadays many Creole still live in and around the city of Paramaribo.

Due to the fact that many former slaves left for the city, immigrants from British-India were contracted to work the plantations for a fixed period of five years. After they served their contract they remained in Surinam. An important part of the population of Surinam still consists of Hindu ( named after their Hindu-religion).

After the Hindu left the plantations, workers from the former Dutch East Indies were contracted. Since they primarily came from the island of Java they are commonly known as Javanese in Surinam.

Remaining sections of the population
In Surinam society you can also find other of communities such as the Dutch, Lebanese and Chinese.