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Cameroon Demographics Profile

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27,744,989 (July 2020 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: 42.34% (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 ratios
total dependency ratio: 81.1
youth dependency ratio: 76.2
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9
potential support ratio: 20.3 (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 18.5 years
male: 18.2 years
female: 18.8 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.78% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
36.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
urban population: 57.6% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 3.63% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
3.922 million YAOUNDE (capital), 3.663 million Douala (2020)
Sex ratio
at 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: 99.3 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
19.7 years (2011 est.)

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

Infant mortality rate
total: 51.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 62.3 years
male: 60.6 years
female: 64 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
4.66 children born/woman (2020 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
19.3% (2018)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
3.2% (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
510,000 (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
14,000 (2019 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: 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.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: 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.)
Major infectious diseases
degree 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
noun: Cameroonian(s)
adjective: Cameroonian
Ethnic groups
Bamileke-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.)
Roman Catholic 38.3%, Protestant 25.5%, other Christian 6.9%, Muslim 24.4%, animist 2.2%, other 0.5%, none 2.2% (2018 est.)
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.

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.

24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
definition: 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)
Education expenditures
3.1% of GDP (2017)
Maternal mortality rate
529 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
11% (2018)
Health expenditures
4.7% (2017)
Physicians density
0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
Hospital bed density
1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
11.4% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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