Flag of Mali

Mali Demographics Profile

Home > Factbook > Countries > Mali

19,553,397 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
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.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 98
youth dependency ratio: 93.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9
potential support ratio: 20.4 (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 16 years
male: 15.3 years
female: 16.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.95% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
42.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
urban population: 43.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.86% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
2.618 million BAMAKO (capital) (2020)
Sex ratio
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.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
18.9 years (2018 est.)

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

Infant mortality rate
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: 61.6 years
male: 59.4 years
female: 63.9 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
5.72 children born/woman (2020 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
17.2% (2018)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
1.2% (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
140,000 (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
5,800 (2019 est.)
Drinking water source
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: 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 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: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
Ethnic groups
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.)
Muslim 93.9%, Christian 2.8%, animist .7%, none 2.5% (2018 est.)
Demographic profile

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.

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: 35.5%
male: 46.2%
female: 25.7% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2017)
Education expenditures
3.1% of GDP (2016)
Maternal mortality rate
562 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
18.6% (2018)
Health expenditures
3.8% (2017)
Physicians density
0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
0.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
8.6% (2016)

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

Demographics Comparison