Burkina Faso vs. Mali


Burkina FasoMali
20,835,401 (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

19,553,397 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 43.58% (male 4,606,350/female 4,473,951)
15-24 years: 20.33% (male 2,121,012/female 2,114,213)
25-54 years: 29.36% (male 2,850,621/female 3,265,926)
55-64 years: 3.57% (male 321,417/female 423,016)
65 years and over: 3.16% (male 284,838/female 374,057) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 47.69% (male 4,689,121/female 4,636,685)
15-24 years: 19% (male 1,768,772/female 1,945,582)
25-54 years: 26.61% (male 2,395,566/female 2,806,830)
55-64 years: 3.68% (male 367,710/female 352,170)
65 years and over: 3.02% (male 293,560/female 297,401) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 17.9 years
male: 17 years
female: 18.7 years (2020 est.)
total: 16 years
male: 15.3 years
female: 16.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.66% (2020 est.)
2.95% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
35.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
42.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
-3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 95.6 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 94.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 47.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 69.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 58.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 62.7 years
male: 60.9 years
female: 64.5 years (2020 est.)
total population: 61.6 years
male: 59.4 years
female: 63.9 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
4.51 children born/woman (2020 est.)
5.72 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.8% (2019 est.)
1.2% (2019 est.)
noun: Burkinabe (singular and plural)
adjective: Burkinabe
noun: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
Ethnic groups
Mossi 52%, Fulani 8.4%, Gurma 7%, Bobo 4.9%, Gurunsi 4.6%, Senufo 4.5%, Bissa 3.7%, Lobi 2.4%, Dagara 2.4%, Tuareg/Bella 1.9%, Dioula 0.8%, unspecified/no answer 0.3%, other 7.2% (2010 est.)
Bambara 33.3%, Fulani (Peuhl) 13.3%, Sarakole/Soninke/Marka 9.8%, Senufo/Manianka 9.6%, Malinke 8.8%, Dogon 8.7%, Sonrai 5.9%, Bobo 2.1%, Tuareg/Bella 1.7%, other Malian 6%, from members of Economic Community of West Africa .4%, other .3% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
100,000 (2019 est.)
140,000 (2019 est.)
Muslim 61.5%, Roman Catholic 23.3%, traditional/animist 7.8%, Protestant 6.5%, other/no answer 0.2%, none 0.7% (2010 est.)
Muslim 93.9%, Christian 2.8%, animist .7%, none 2.5% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
3,100 (2019 est.)
5,800 (2019 est.)
French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
French (official), Bambara 46.3%, Peuhl/Foulfoulbe 9.4%, Dogon 7.2%, Maraka/Soninke 6.4%, Malinke 5.6%, Sonrhai/Djerma 5.6%, Minianka 4.3%, Tamacheq 3.5%, Senoufo 2.6%, Bobo 2.1%, unspecified 0.7%, other 6.3% (2009 est.)

note: Mali has 13 national languages in addition to its official language

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 41.2%
male: 50.1%
female: 32.7% (2018)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 35.5%
male: 46.2%
female: 25.7% (2018)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
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
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2019)
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2017)
Education expenditures
4.2% of GDP (2015)
3.1% of GDP (2016)
urban population: 30.6% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.99% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 43.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.86% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 94.9% of population
rural: 67.9% of population
total: 75.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 32.1% of population
total: 24.4% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 97.1% of population
rural: 72.8% of population
total: 82.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.9% of population
rural: 27.2% of population
total: 17.1% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 88.2% of population
rural: 30.2% of population
total: 46.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 11.8% of population
rural: 69.8% of population
total: 53.1% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 82.5% of population
rural: 34.1% of population
total: 54.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 17.5% of population
rural: 65.9% of population
total: 45.8% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
2.780 million OUAGADOUGOU (capital), 972,000 Bobo-Dioulasso (2020)
2.618 million BAMAKO (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
320 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
562 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
17.7% (2018)
18.6% (2018)
Health expenditures
6.9% (2017)
3.8% (2017)
Physicians density
0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)
0.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
5.6% (2016)
8.6% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth
19.4 years (2010 est.)

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

18.9 years (2018 est.)

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

Demographic profile

Burkina Faso has a young age structure – the result of declining mortality combined with steady high fertility – and continues to experience rapid population growth, which is putting increasing pressure on the country’s limited arable land. More than 65% of the population is under the age of 25, and the population is growing at 3% annually. Mortality rates, especially those of infants and children, have decreased because of improved health care, hygiene, and sanitation, but women continue to have an average of almost 6 children. Even if fertility were substantially reduced, today’s large cohort entering their reproductive years would sustain high population growth for the foreseeable future. Only about a third of the population is literate and unemployment is widespread, dampening the economic prospects of Burkina Faso’s large working-age population.

Migration has traditionally been a way of life for Burkinabe, with seasonal migration being replaced by stints of up to two years abroad. Cote d’Ivoire remains the top destination, although it has experienced periods of internal conflict. Under French colonization, Burkina Faso became a main labor source for agricultural and factory work in Cote d’Ivoire. Burkinabe also migrated to Ghana, Mali, and Senegal for work between the world wars. Burkina Faso attracts migrants from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Mali, who often share common ethnic backgrounds with the Burkinabe. Despite its food shortages and high poverty rate, Burkina Faso has become a destination for refugees in recent years and hosts about 33,500 Malians as of May 2017.


Mali’s total population is expected to double by 2035; its capital Bamako is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. A young age structure, a declining mortality rate, and a sustained high total fertility rate of 6 children per woman – the third highest in the world – ensure continued rapid population growth for the foreseeable future. Significant outmigration only marginally tempers this growth. Despite decreases, Mali’s infant, child, and maternal mortality rates remain among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa because of limited access to and adoption of family planning, early childbearing, short birth intervals, the prevalence of female genital cutting, infrequent use of skilled birth attendants, and a lack of emergency obstetrical and neonatal care.

Mali’s high total fertility rate has been virtually unchanged for decades, as a result of the ongoing preference for large families, early childbearing, the lack of female education and empowerment, poverty, and extremely low contraceptive use. Slowing Mali’s population growth by lowering its birth rate will be essential for poverty reduction, improving food security, and developing human capital and the economy.

Mali has a long history of seasonal migration and emigration driven by poverty, conflict, demographic pressure, unemployment, food insecurity, and droughts. Many Malians from rural areas migrate during the dry period to nearby villages and towns to do odd jobs or to adjoining countries to work in agriculture or mining. Pastoralists and nomads move seasonally to southern Mali or nearby coastal states. Others migrate long term to Mali’s urban areas, Cote d’Ivoire, other neighboring countries, and in smaller numbers to France, Mali’s former colonial ruler. Since the early 1990s, Mali’s role has grown as a transit country for regional migration flows and illegal migration to Europe. Human smugglers and traffickers exploit the same regional routes used for moving contraband drugs, arms, and cigarettes.

Between early 2012 and 2013, renewed fighting in northern Mali between government forces and Tuareg secessionists and their Islamist allies, a French-led international military intervention, as well as chronic food shortages, caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Malians. Most of those displaced domestically sought shelter in urban areas of southern Mali, except for pastoralist and nomadic groups, who abandoned their traditional routes, gave away or sold their livestock, and dispersed into the deserts of northern Mali or crossed into neighboring countries. Almost all Malians who took refuge abroad (mostly Tuareg and Maure pastoralists) stayed in the region, largely in Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

Contraceptive prevalence rate
32.5% (2018/19)
17.2% (2018)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 87.9
youth dependency ratio: 83.4
elderly dependency ratio: 4.5
potential support ratio: 22.1 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 98
youth dependency ratio: 93.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9
potential support ratio: 20.4 (2020 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook