Demographics of Africa

Demographics of Africa
Map of Africa indicating Human Development Index (2004).
  above 0.950
  under 0.300
Life expectancy is below 50 years in most African countries, and below 60 years in all countries except for the Mediterranean North.
Most African countries have annual population growth rates above 2%.

The population of Africa has grown exponentially over the past century, and consequently shows a large youth bulge, further reinforced by a low life expectancy of below 50 years in most African countries.[1] The population doubled in the period 1982–2009[2] and quadrupled from 1955–2009, according to United Nations estimates.[3] The total population of Africa is estimated at 1 billion (as of November 2009.)[2]


Sub-Saharan Africa

The infant mortality rate in Africa is at 9% and child mortality under five years at 15%.[1]

More than 40% of the population of are below 15 years in most sub-Saharan countries, as well as the Sudan but with the exception of South Africa,[4] in Uganda as many as 50% (as compared to 20% in the USA). Infant mortality is high, with as many as 190 deaths per 1,000 live births in Angola, and between 25% and 50% malnourished in Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and other countries. Thirty-four out of fifty-three African countries are counted among the world's Least Developed Countries.

HIV/AIDS is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, with some 11% of adult population infected and an estimated 2 million deaths caused by AIDS in 2005.


Woman from Benin.

Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and consequently, it is relatively young. In some African states, half or more of the population is under 25 years of age.[5] The total number of people in Africa grew from 221 million in 1950 to 1 billion in 2009.[6][7]

San Bushman man from Botswana.

Speakers of Bantu languages (part of the Niger–Congo family) are the majority in southern, central and southeast Africa. The Bantu-speaking farmers from West Africa's inland savanna progressively expanded over most of Sub-Saharan Africa.[8] But there are also several Nilotic groups in South Sudan and East Africa, the mixed Swahili people on the Swahili Coast, and a few remaining indigenous Khoisan ('San' or 'Bushmen') and Pygmy peoples in southern and central Africa, respectively. Bantu-speaking Africans also predominate in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and are found in parts of southern Cameroon. In the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, the distinct people known as the Bushmen (also "San", closely related to, but distinct from "Hottentots") have long been present. The San are physically distinct from other Africans and are the indigenous people of southern Africa. Pygmies are the pre-Bantu indigenous peoples of central Africa.[9]

Berber boys from the Atlas Mountains

The peoples of North Africa comprise two main groups: Berbers and Arabic-speaking peoples in the west, and Egyptians and Libyans in the east. The Arabs who arrived in the 7th century introduced the Arabic language and Islam to North Africa. The Semitic Phoenicians (who founded Carthage) and Hyksos, the Indo-Iranian Alans, the Indo- European Greeks, Romans and Vandals settled in North Africa as well. Berbers still make up the majority in Morocco, while they are a significant minority within Algeria. They are also present in Tunisia and Libya.[10] The Berber-speaking Tuareg and other often-nomadic peoples are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa.

Beja bedouins from Northeast Africa

Some Ethiopian and Eritrean groups (like the Amhara and Tigrayans, collectively known as Habesha) speak languages from the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, while the Oromo and Somali speak languages from the Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic. Sudan is mostly inhabited by Nubian and Beja people, with northern Mauritania somewhat similarly structured.

Prior to the decolonization movements of the post-World War II era, Europeans were represented in every part of Africa.[11] Decolonisation during the 1960s and 1970s often resulted in the mass emigration of European-descended settlers out of Africa – especially from Algeria and Morocco (1.6 million pieds-noirs in North Africa),[12] Kenya, Congo,[13] Rhodesia, Mozambique and Angola.[14] By the end of 1977, more than one million Portuguese were thought to have returned from Africa.[15] Nevertheless, White Africans remain an important minority in many African states, particularly South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Réunion.[16] The African country with the largest White African population is South Africa.[17] The Afrikaners, the Anglo-Africans (of British origin) and the Coloureds are the largest European-descended groups in Africa today.

European colonization also brought sizable groups of Asians, particularly people from the Indian subcontinent, to British colonies. Large Indian communities are found in South Africa, and smaller ones are present in Kenya, Tanzania, and some other southern and East African countries. The large Indian community in Uganda was expelled by the dictator Idi Amin in 1972, though many have since returned. The islands in the Indian Ocean are also populated primarily by people of Asian origin, often mixed with Africans and Europeans. The Malagasy people of Madagascar are an Austronesian people, but those along the coast are generally mixed with Bantu, Arab, Indian and European origins. Malay and Indian ancestries are also important components in the group of people known in South Africa as Cape Coloureds (people with origins in two or more races and continents). During the 20th century, small but economically important communities of Lebanese and Chinese[18] have also developed in the larger coastal cities of West and East Africa, respectively.[19]

Major languages

Ethnic groups in Africa.

List of major languages of Africa by region, family and total number of native speakers in millions

Central Africa
East Africa
Horn of Africa
North Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa

Central Africa

Central Africa is a region of Africa that is primarily inhabited by Bantu and Pygmy groups. Bantu languages predominate, with Chadic and Nilo-Saharan languages also spoken in some areas.

East Africa

The Great Lakes region of East Africa is primarily inhabited by Bantu and Nilotic peoples who speak Bantu (particularly Swahili) and Nilo-Saharan languages, respectively. Some areas of East Africa, particularly the island of Zanzibar and the Kenyan island of Lamu, also received Arab Muslim and Southwest Asian settlers and merchants throughout the Middle Ages and in antiquity.

Horn of Africa

Besides sharing similar geographic endowments, the countries of the Horn of Africa are, for the most part, linguistically and ethnically linked together,[21] evincing a complex pattern of interrelationships among the various populations.[22] Most local groups speak Afro-Asiatic languages. The Amhara and Tigrayans (collectively known as "Habesha") speak languages from the phylum's Semitic branch, while the Somali, Afar and Oromo people speak languages from the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

North Africa

The peoples of North Africa comprise two main groups; Berber and Arabic-speaking peoples in the west, and Egyptians, Copts, Nubians and Beja in the east. The Arabs, who arrived from Asia in the seventh century, introduced the Arabic language and Islam to North Africa. The Semitic Phoenicians, the European Greeks, Romans, Vandals and Pied-noir settled in North Africa as well. The indigenous Berbers still make up the majority in Morocco, while they are a significant minority within Algeria, which is now a majority Arabic-speaking country. They are also still present in small numbers in Tunisia and Libya. The Tuareg (a group of Berbers) and other often-nomadic peoples are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. Nubians are originally a Nilo-Saharan-speaking group (though many also speak Arabic now), who developed an ancient civilisation in northeast Africa. Sudan is divided between a mostly Arabic-speaking, Muslim Arabs Nubian and Beja north and a Nilo-Saharan-speaking, Christian and animist Nilotic south, with Mauritania somewhat similarly structured.

Southern Africa

Southern Africa is primarily inhabited by Bushmen (Khoisan) as well as Bantu peoples, who speak Khoisan and Bantu languages, respectively. There are also numerous Afrikaner residents, who speak Afrikaans, an Indo-European language. It is currently believed that speakers of Khoisan languages were the first to make it to Southern Africa.

West Africa

West Africa is occupied by people who predominantly speak Niger–Congo languages, including those from the Bantu branch. Niger–Congo tongues spoken locally include the Akan languages, of which most Kwa languages are or have been influenced by the Mande, Yoruba and the Igbo languages, in addition to Hausa (a Chadic language).


Among other populations, there is also a significant European population and Asian population in Africa. During the past century or so, small but economically important colonies of Lebanese, Indians and Chinese have also developed in the larger coastal cities of West and East Africa, respectively.

List of African countries by population

The most populous African country is Nigeria with 158 million people, followed by Ethiopia (82 million) and Egypt (80 million).

See also



  • Y-DNA haplogroups by populations of Sub-Saharan Africa


  1. ^ See List of countries by life expectancy; according to the 2006 CIA Factbook, 28 of 53 countries show a life expectancy at birth below 50 years, 43 of 53 below 60 years; in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland below 35 years.
  2. ^ a b "Africa population tops a billion". BBC. 2009-11-18. 
  3. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision" United Nations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, population division)
  4. ^ According to the CIA Factbook: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia
  5. ^ "Africa Population Dynamics". 
  6. ^ Population. Western Kentucky University.
  7. ^ Africa's population now 1 billion. AfricaNews. August 25, 2009.
  8. ^ Luc-Normand Tellier (2009). "Urban world history: an economic and geographical perspective". PUQ. p.204. ISBN 2760515885
  9. ^ Pygmies struggle to survive in war zone where abuse is routine. Times Online. December 16, 2004.
  10. ^ Q&A: The Berbers. BBC News. March 12, 2004.
  11. ^ "We Want Our Country" (3 of 10). Time. November 5, 1965
  12. ^ Raimondo Cagiano De Azevedo (1994). "Migration and development co-operation.". Council of Europe. p.25. ISBN 9287126119
  13. ^ Jungle Shipwreck. Time. July 25, 1960
  14. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist , August 16, 1975
  15. ^ Portugal - Emigration, Eric Solsten, ed. Portugal: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.
  16. ^ Holm, John A. (1989). Pidgins and Creoles: References survey. Cambridge University Press. p. 394. ISBN 0521359406. 
  17. ^ South Africa: People: Ethnic Groups. World Factbook of CIA
  18. ^ "China and Africa: Stronger Economic Ties Mean More Migration". By Malia Politzer, Migration Information Source. August 2008.
  19. ^ "Lebanese Immigrants Boost West African Commerce", By Naomi Schwarz,, July 10, 2007
  20. ^ Ethnologue, most of them are native speakers
  21. ^ Sandra Fullerton Joireman, Institutional Change in the Horn of Africa, (Universal-Publishers: 1997), p.1
  22. ^ "once the ideological screen of common origin is pushed aside, a complex pattern of fusion and fission among groups is revealed" Ethnicity & conflict in the Horn of Africa By Katsuyoshi Fukui, John Markakis (p.4, Published by James Currey Publishers, 1994)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Demographics of the world — This article is about the demographic features of the population of the World, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.… …   Wikipedia

  • Africa — For other uses, see Africa (disambiguation). Africa Africa Area …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Kenya — Kenya is a multi ethnic state in the southern Great Lakes region of East Africa. It is primarily inhabited by Bantu and Nilotic populations, with some Cushitic ethnic minorities in the north. Its total population is estimated at 41 …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of South Africa — Population of South Africa, 1961–2008 Population: 49,991,300 (July 2010 est.)[1] Growth rate …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Comoros — Demographics of Comoros, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands. The Comorians inhabiting Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Mohéli (86% of the population) share African Arab origins. Islam (See Islam in Comoros) is the… …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Chad — Demographics of Chad, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands. The people of Chad speak more than 100 different languages and divide themselves into many ethnic groups. However, language and ethnicity are not the same.… …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Libya — include population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the Libyan population. No complete population or vital statistics registration exists in Libya. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of the Republic of Ireland — Historical demogrpoopaphics of the Republic of Ireland, Data of CSO …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Djibouti — Demographics of  Djibouti Population: 882,844 (2010) Growth rate: 2.237% (2010) Birth rate: 25.27 births/1,000 population (2011 est.) Death rate …   Wikipedia

  • Demographics of Mauritania — Demographics of Mauritania, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands. This article is about the demographic features of the population of Mauritania, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”