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Benin Demographics Profile 2019

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11,340,504 (July 2018 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

Age structure
0-14 years: 42.26% (male 2,445,265 /female 2,347,091)
15-24 years: 20.53% (male 1,184,977 /female 1,143,605)
25-54 years: 30.66% (male 1,759,834 /female 1,717,467)
55-64 years: 3.65% (male 184,453 /female 229,945)
65 years and over: 2.89% (male 128,920 /female 198,947) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 86.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 80.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 6 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 16.6 (2015 est.)
Median age
total: 18.4 years (2018 est.)
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.7 years
Population growth rate
2.68% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
34.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
7.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
urban population: 47.9% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 3.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
285,000 PORTO-NOVO (capital) (2018); 991,000 Abomey-Calavi, 688,000 COTONOU (seat of government) (2019)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
20.4 years (2017/18 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Infant mortality rate
total: 51.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 54.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 62.7 years (2018 est.)
male: 61.2 years
female: 64.2 years
Total fertility rate
4.67 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
15.5% (2017/18)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
1% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
73,000 (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
2,200 (2018 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 85.2% of population
rural: 72.1% of population
total: 77.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 14.8% of population
rural: 27.9% of population
total: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 35.6% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 7.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 19.7% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 64.4% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 92.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2019)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2019)
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2019)
animal contact diseases: rabies (2019)
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis (2019)
noun: Beninese (singular and plural)
adjective: Beninese
Ethnic groups
Fon 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.)
Muslim 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.)
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.

French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.4%
male: 49.9%
female: 27.3% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 13 years
male: 14 years
female: 11 years (2016)
Education expenditures
4% of GDP (2016)
Maternal mortality rate
397 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
16.8% (2018)
Health expenditures
3.9% (2016)
Physicians density
0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
9.6% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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