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Madagascar Demographics Profile

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26,955,737 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 38.86% (male 5,278,838/female 5,196,036)
15-24 years: 20.06% (male 2,717,399/female 2,689,874)
25-54 years: 33.02% (male 4,443,147/female 4,456,691)
55-64 years: 4.6% (male 611,364/female 627,315)
65 years and over: 3.47% (male 425,122/female 509,951) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 75.9
youth dependency ratio: 70.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5
potential support ratio: 18.3 (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 20.3 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 20.5 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.39% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
29.9 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
6.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
urban population: 38.5% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.48% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
3.369 million ANTANANARIVO (capital) (2020)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 100 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
19.5 years (2008/09 est.)

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

Infant mortality rate
total: 37.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 41.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 67.3 years
male: 65.7 years
female: 68.9 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
3.78 children born/woman (2020 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
44.3% (2018)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.2% (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
39,000 (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
1,400 (2019 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 87.9% of population
rural: 36.3% of population
total: 55.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 12.1% of population
rural: 63.7% of population
total: 44.5% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 42.5% of population
rural: 16.6% of population
total: 26.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 57.5% of population
rural: 83.4% of population
total: 73.9% of population (2017 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
noun: Malagasy (singular and plural)
adjective: Malagasy
Ethnic groups
Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran
Christian, indigenous, Muslim
Demographic profile

Madagascar’s youthful population – just over 60% are under the age of 25 – and high total fertility rate of more than 4 children per women ensures that the Malagasy population will continue its rapid growth trajectory for the foreseeable future. The population is predominantly rural and poor; chronic malnutrition is prevalent, and large families are the norm. Many young Malagasy girls are withdrawn from school, marry early (often pressured to do so by their parents), and soon begin having children. Early childbearing, coupled with Madagascar’s widespread poverty and lack of access to skilled health care providers during delivery, increases the risk of death and serious health problems for young mothers and their babies.

Child marriage perpetuates gender inequality and is prevalent among the poor, the uneducated, and rural households – as of 2013, of Malagasy women aged 20 to 24, more than 40% were married and more than a third had given birth by the age of 18. Although the legal age for marriage is 18, parental consent is often given for earlier marriages or the law is flouted, especially in rural areas that make up nearly 65% of the country. Forms of arranged marriage whereby young girls are married to older men in exchange for oxen or money are traditional. If a union does not work out, a girl can be placed in another marriage, but the dowry paid to her family diminishes with each unsuccessful marriage.

Madagascar’s population consists of 18 main ethnic groups, all of whom speak the same Malagasy language. Most Malagasy are multi-ethnic, however, reflecting the island’s diversity of settlers and historical contacts (see Background). Madagascar’s legacy of hierarchical societies practicing domestic slavery (most notably the Merina Kingdom of the 16th to the 19th century) is evident today in persistent class tension, with some ethnic groups maintaining a caste system. Slave descendants are vulnerable to unequal access to education and jobs, despite Madagascar’s constitutional guarantee of free compulsory primary education and its being party to several international conventions on human rights. Historical distinctions also remain between central highlanders and coastal people.

French (official), Malagasy (official), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.8%
male: 77.3%
female: 72.4% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2018)
Education expenditures
2.8% of GDP (2014)
Maternal mortality rate
335 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
26.4% (2018)
Health expenditures
5.5% (2017)
Physicians density
0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density
0.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
5.3% (2016)

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