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Mauritania vs. Mali

Demographics

MauritaniaMali
Population
4,005,475 (July 2020 est.)
19,553,397 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 37.56% (male 755,788/female 748,671)
15-24 years: 19.71% (male 387,140/female 402,462)
25-54 years: 33.91% (male 630,693/female 727,518)
55-64 years: 4.9% (male 88,888/female 107,201)
65 years and over: 3.92% (male 66,407/female 90,707) (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: 21 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 22 years (2020 est.)
total: 16 years
male: 15.3 years
female: 16.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.09% (2020 est.)
2.95% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
29 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
42.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
7.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.8 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: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 92.9 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: 47.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.1 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: 64.5 years
male: 62.1 years
female: 67 years (2020 est.)
total population: 61.6 years
male: 59.4 years
female: 63.9 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
3.65 children born/woman (2020 est.)
5.72 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.2% (2019 est.)
1.2% (2019 est.)
Nationality
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
noun: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
Ethnic groups
black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Beydane) 30%, Sub-Saharan Mauritanians (non-Arabic speaking, largely resident in or originating from the Senegal River Valley, including Halpulaar, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and Bambara ethnic groups) 30%
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
5,700 (2019 est.)
140,000 (2019 est.)
Religions
Muslim (official) 100%
Muslim 93.9%, Christian 2.8%, animist .7%, none 2.5% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2019 est.)
5,800 (2019 est.)
Languages
Arabic (official and national), Pular, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French

note: the spoken Arabic in Mauritania differs considerably from the modern standard Arabic used for official written purposes or in the media; the Mauritanian dialect, which incorporates many Berber words, is referred to as Hassaniya

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

Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 53.5%
male: 63.7%
female: 43.4% (2017)
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: malaria and dengue fever
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: 10 years (2019)
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2017)
Education expenditures
2.6% of GDP (2016)
3.1% of GDP (2016)
Urbanization
urban population: 55.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.28% 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: 98.7% of population
rural: 68.4% of population
total: 84.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.3% of population
rural: 31.6% of population
total: 15.6% 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: 83.5% of population
rural: 25.2% of population
total: 56% of population
unimproved: urban: 16.5% of population
rural: 74.8% of population
total: 44% 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
1.315 million NOUAKCHOTT (capital) (2020)
2.618 million BAMAKO (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
766 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
562 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
19.2% (2018)
18.6% (2018)
Health expenditures
4.4% (2017)
3.8% (2017)
Physicians density
0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
12.7% (2016)
8.6% (2016)
Demographic profile

With a sustained total fertility rate of about 4 children per woman and almost 60% of the population under the age of 25, Mauritania's population is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Mauritania's large youth cohort is vital to its development prospects, but available schooling does not adequately prepare students for the workplace. Girls continue to be underrepresented in the classroom, educational quality remains poor, and the dropout rate is high. The literacy rate is only about 50%, even though access to primary education has improved since the mid-2000s. Women's restricted access to education and discriminatory laws maintain gender inequality - worsened by early and forced marriages and female genital cutting.

The denial of education to black Moors also helps to perpetuate slavery. Although Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981 (the last country in the world to do so) and made it a criminal offense in 2007, the millenniums-old practice persists largely because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced and the custom is so ingrained.  According to a 2018 nongovernmental organization's report, a little more than 2% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which includes individuals sujbected to forced labor and forced marriage, although many thousands of individuals who are legally free contend with discrimination, poor education, and a lack of identity papers and, therefore, live in de facto slavery.  The UN and international press outlets have claimed that up to 20% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which would be the highest rate worldwide.

Drought, poverty, and unemployment have driven outmigration from Mauritania since the 1970s. Early flows were directed toward other West African countries, including Senegal, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, and Gambia. The 1989 Mauritania-Senegal conflict forced thousands of black Mauritanians to take refuge in Senegal and pushed labor migrants toward the Gulf, Libya, and Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mauritania has accepted migrants from neighboring countries to fill labor shortages since its independence in 1960 and more recently has received refugees escaping civil wars, including tens of thousands of Tuaregs who fled Mali in 2012.

Mauritania was an important transit point for Sub-Saharan migrants moving illegally to North Africa and Europe. In the mid-2000s, as border patrols increased in the Strait of Gibraltar, security increased around Spain's North African enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla), and Moroccan border controls intensified, illegal migration flows shifted from the Western Mediterranean to Spain's Canary Islands. In 2006, departure points moved southward along the West African coast from Morocco and Western Sahara to Mauritania's two key ports (Nouadhibou and the capital Nouakchott), and illegal migration to the Canaries peaked at almost 32,000. The numbers fell dramatically in the following years because of joint patrolling off the West African coast by Frontex (the EU's border protection agency), Spain, Mauritania, and Senegal; the expansion of Spain's border surveillance system; and the 2008 European economic downturn.

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
17.8% (2015)
17.2% (2018)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 75
youth dependency ratio: 69.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6
potential support ratio: 18 (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