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Senegal Demographics Profile

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Population16,082,442 (July 2021 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Senegalese (singular and plural)

adjective: Senegalese
Ethnic groupsWolof 37.1%, Pular 26.2%, Serer 17%, Mandinka 5.6%, Jola 4.5%, Soninke 1.4%, other 8.3% (includes Europeans and persons of Lebanese descent) (2017 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke
ReligionsMuslim 95.9% (most adhere to one of the four main Sufi brotherhoods), Christian 4.1% (mostly Roman Catholic) (2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 40.38% (male 3,194,454/female 3,160,111)

15-24 years: 20.35% (male 1,596,896/female 1,606,084)

25-54 years: 31.95% (male 2,327,424/female 2,700,698)

55-64 years: 4.21% (male 283,480/female 378,932)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 212,332/female 275,957) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 84.2

youth dependency ratio: 78.4

elderly dependency ratio: 5.7

potential support ratio: 17.5 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 19.4 years

male: 18.5 years

female: 20.3 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate2.25% (2021 est.)
Birth rate31.31 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-1.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionthe population is concentrated in the west, with Dakar anchoring a well-defined core area; approximately 70% of the population is rural as shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 48.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.59% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population3.230 million DAKAR (capital) (2021)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth21.9 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49
Maternal mortality rate315 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 47.72 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 54.66 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 40.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 63.83 years

male: 61.59 years

female: 66.14 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate3.97 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate26.9% (2019)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 92.3% of population

rural: 74.5% of population

total: 83.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.7% of population

rural: 25.5% of population

total: 16.7% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures4% (2018)
Physicians density0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density0.3 beds/1,000 population (2008)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 91.2% of population

rural: 48.5% of population

total: 68.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.8% of population

rural: 51.5% of population

total: 31.6% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.3% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS39,000 (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,100 (2020 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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
Obesity - adult prevalence rate8.8% (2016)
Food insecuritysevere localized food insecurity: due to localized shortfalls in cereal production - according to the latest analysis, about 490,000 people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance in the June-August 2021 period due to the effects of adverse weather events (droughts and floods) on cereal and fodder production (2021)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight14.4% (2019)
Education expenditures4.8% of GDP (2018)
Demographic profile

Senegal has a large and growing youth population but has not been successful in developing its potential human capital. Senegal’s high total fertility rate of almost 4.5 children per woman continues to bolster the country’s large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. Fertility remains high because of the continued desire for large families, the low use of family planning, and early childbearing. Because of the country’s high illiteracy rate (more than 40%), high unemployment (even among university graduates), and widespread poverty, Senegalese youths face dim prospects; women are especially disadvantaged.

Senegal historically was a destination country for economic migrants, but in recent years West African migrants more often use Senegal as a transit point to North Africa – and sometimes illegally onward to Europe. The country also has been host to several thousand black Mauritanian refugees since they were expelled from their homeland during its 1989 border conflict with Senegal. The country’s economic crisis in the 1970s stimulated emigration; departures accelerated in the 1990s. Destinations shifted from neighboring countries, which were experiencing economic decline, civil wars, and increasing xenophobia, to Libya and Mauritania because of their booming oil industries and to developed countries (most notably former colonial ruler France, as well as Italy and Spain). The latter became attractive in the 1990s because of job opportunities and their periodic regularization programs (legalizing the status of illegal migrants).

Additionally, about 16,000 Senegalese refugees still remain in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau as a result of more than 30 years of fighting between government forces and rebel separatists in southern Senegal’s Casamance region.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 51.9%

male: 64.8%

female: 39.8% (2017)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 9 years

male: 8 years

female: 9 years (2019)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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