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Benin Demographics Profile

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Population13,301,694 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Nationalitynoun: Beninese (singular and plural)

adjective: Beninese
Ethnic groupsFon and related 38.4%, Adja and related 15.1%, Yoruba and related 12%, Bariba and related 9.6%, Fulani and related 8.6%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4.3%, Dendi and related 2.9%, other 0.9%, foreigner 1.9% (2013 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
ReligionsMuslim 27.7%, Roman Catholic 25.5%, Protestant 13.5% (Celestial 6.7%, Methodist 3.4%, other Protestant 3.4%), Vodoun 11.6%, other Christian 9.5%, other traditional religions 2.6%, other 2.6%, none 5.8% (2013 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 45.56% (male 2,955,396/female 2,906,079)

15-24 years: 20.36% (male 1,300,453/female 1,318,880)

25-54 years: 28.54% (male 1,735,229/female 1,935,839)

55-64 years: 3.15% (male 193,548/female 211,427)

65 years and over: 2.39% (male 140,513/female 167,270) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 82.6

youth dependency ratio: 76.6

elderly dependency ratio: 6

potential support ratio: 16.7 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 17 years

male: 16.4 years

female: 17.6 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate3.36% (2021 est.)
Birth rate41.55 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate8.21 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate0.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionthe population is primarily located in the south, with the highest concentration of people residing in and around the cities on the Atlantic coast; most of the north remains sparsely populated with higher concentrations of residents in the west at shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 49% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population285,000 PORTO-NOVO (capital) (2018); 1.123 million Abomey-Calavi, 699,000 COTONOU (seat of government) (2021)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.5 years (2017/18 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49
Maternal mortality rate397 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 57.23 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 62.34 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 51.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 61.82 years

male: 60.02 years

female: 63.71 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate5.47 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate15.5% (2017/18)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 81.2% of population

rural: 72.2% of population

total: 76.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 18.8% of population

rural: 27.8% of population

total: 23.6% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures2.5% (2018)
Physicians density0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2018)
Hospital bed density0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 58.7% of population

rural: 16% of population

total: 36% of population

unimproved: urban: 41.3% of population

rural: 84% of population

total: 64% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.9% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS75,000 (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths2,000 (2020 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
Obesity - adult prevalence rate9.6% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight16.8% (2017/18)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2018)
Demographic profile

Benin has a youthful age structure – almost 65% of the population is under the age of 25 – which is bolstered by high fertility and population growth rates. Benin’s total fertility has been falling over time but remains high, declining from almost 7 children per women in 1990 to 4.8 in 2016. Benin’s low contraceptive use and high unmet need for contraception contribute to the sustained high fertility rate. Although the majority of Beninese women use skilled health care personnel for antenatal care and delivery, the high rate of maternal mortality indicates the need for more access to high quality obstetric care.

Poverty, unemployment, increased living costs, and dwindling resources increasingly drive the Beninese to migrate. An estimated 4.4 million, more than 40%, of Beninese live abroad. Virtually all Beninese emigrants move to West African countries, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Of the less than 1% of Beninese emigrants who settle in Europe, the vast majority live in France, Benin’s former colonial ruler.

With about 40% of the population living below the poverty line, many desperate parents resort to sending their children to work in wealthy households as domestic servants (a common practice known as vidomegon), mines, quarries, or agriculture domestically or in Nigeria and other neighboring countries, often under brutal conditions. Unlike in other West African countries, where rural people move to the coast, farmers from Benin’s densely populated southern and northwestern regions move to the historically sparsely populated central region to pursue agriculture. Immigrants from West African countries came to Benin in increasing numbers between 1992 and 2002 because of its political stability and porous borders.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 42.4%

male: 54%

female: 31.1% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years

male: 14 years

female: 11 years (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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