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Cameroon Demographics Profile

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Population28,524,175 (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: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian
Ethnic groupsBamileke-Bamu 24.3%, Beti/Bassa, Mbam 21.6%, Biu-Mandara 14.6%, Arab-Choa/Hausa/Kanuri 11%, Adamawa-Ubangi, 9.8%, Grassfields 7.7%, Kako, Meka/Pygmy 3.3%, Cotier/Ngoe/Oroko 2.7%, Southwestern Bantu 0.7%, foreign/other ethnic group 4.5% (2018 est.)
Languages24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 38.3%, Protestant 25.5%, other Christian 6.9%, Muslim 24.4%, animist 2.2%, other 0.5%, none 2.2% (2018 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 42.34% (male 5,927,640/female 5,820,226)

15-24 years: 20.04% (male 2,782,376/female 2,776,873)

25-54 years: 30.64% (male 4,191,151/female 4,309,483)

55-64 years: 3.87% (male 520,771/female 552,801)

65 years and over: 3.11% (male 403,420/female 460,248) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 81.1

youth dependency ratio: 76.2

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.3 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.5 years

male: 18.2 years

female: 18.8 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate2.77% (2021 est.)
Birth rate35.91 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate7.93 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionpopulation concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 58.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population4.164 million YAOUNDE (capital), 3.793 million Douala (2021)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.1 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49
Maternal mortality rate529 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 50.09 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.01 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 62.79 years

male: 61.07 years

female: 64.57 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate4.61 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate19.3% (2018)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 94% of population

rural: 54.6% of population

total: 76.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 6% of population

rural: 45.3% of population

total: 23.5% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures3.5% (2018)
Physicians density0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
Hospital bed density1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 83.3% of population

rural: 25.6% of population

total: 57.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 16.7% of population

rural: 74.4% of population

total: 42.3% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate3% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS500,000 (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths14,000 (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: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
Obesity - adult prevalence rate11.4% (2016)
Food insecuritysevere localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity and population displacements - according to a March 2021 analysis, about 1.9 million people (7 percent of the total population) were projected to be severely food insecure in the June-August 2021 period; this mainly results from the effects of Boko Haram incursions in the Far North Region, the socio-political unrest in the Northwest and Southwest regions and COVID-19 related economic shocks, which disrupted trade flows and agricultural practices, deteriorated livelihoods and displaced people (2021)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11% (2018/19)
Education expenditures3.1% of GDP (2018)
Demographic profile

Cameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25. Fertility is falling but remains at a high level, especially among poor, rural, and uneducated women, in part because of inadequate access to contraception. Life expectancy remains low at about 55 years due to the prevalence of HIV and AIDs and an elevated maternal mortality rate, which has remained high since 1990. Cameroon, particularly the northern region, is vulnerable to food insecurity largely because of government mismanagement, corruption, high production costs, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. Despite economic growth in some regions, poverty is on the rise, and is most prevalent in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of jobs, declining incomes, poor school and health care infrastructure, and a lack of clean water and sanitation. Underinvestment in social safety nets and ineffective public financial management also contribute to Cameroon’s high rate of poverty.  The activities of Boko Haram, other armed groups, and counterinsurgency operations have worsened food insecurity in the Far North region.  

International migration has been driven by unemployment (including fewer government jobs), poverty, the search for educational opportunities, and corruption. The US and Europe are preferred destinations, but, with tighter immigration restrictions in these countries, young Cameroonians are increasingly turning to neighboring states, such as Gabon and Nigeria, South Africa, other parts of Africa, and the Near and Far East. Cameroon’s limited resources make it dependent on UN support to host more than 420,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of September 2020. These refugees and asylum seekers are primarily from the Central African Republic and Nigeria.  Internal and external displacement have grown dramatically in recent years.  Boko Haram's attacks and counterattacks by government forces in the Far North since 2014 have increased the number of internally displaced people.  Armed conflict between separatists and Cameroon's military in the the Northwest and Southwest since 2016 have displaced hundreds of thousands of the country's Anglophone minority.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 77.1%

male: 82.6%

female: 71.6% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 12 years

male: 13 years

female: 11 years (2016)

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

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