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Somalia Demographics Profile 2019

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11,259,029 (July 2018 est.)

note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare

Age structure
0-14 years: 42.87% (male 2,410,215 /female 2,416,629)
15-24 years: 19.35% (male 1,097,358 /female 1,081,762)
25-54 years: 31.23% (male 1,821,823 /female 1,694,873)
55-64 years: 4.35% (male 245,744 /female 243,893)
65 years and over: 2.19% (male 95,845 /female 150,887) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 97.4 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 92.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 18.8 (2015 est.)
Median age
total: 18.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 18.4 years
female: 18 years
Population growth rate
2.08% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
39.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
12.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
-5.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
urban population: 45.6% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
2.18 million MOGADISHU (capital) (2019)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 93 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 101.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 84.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 53.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 51 years
female: 55.4 years
Total fertility rate
5.7 children born/woman (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.1% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
11,000 (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<1000 (2018 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 69.6% of population
rural: 8.8% of population
total: 31.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 30.4% of population
rural: 91.2% of population
total: 68.3% of population (2011 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 52% of population (2011 est.)
rural: 6.3% of population (2011 est.)
total: 23.6% of population (2011 est.)
unimproved: urban: 48% of population (2011 est.)
rural: 93.7% of population (2011 est.)
total: 76.4% of population (2011 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2016)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever (2016)
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever (2016)
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis (2016)
animal contact diseases: rabies (2016)
noun: Somali(s)
adjective: Somali
Ethnic groups
Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter)
Demographic profile

Somalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60% of Somalia’s population is younger than 25, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 6 children per woman – a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s.

A lack of educational and job opportunities is a major source of tension for Somalia’s large youth cohort, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and pirate groups. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest primary school enrollment rates – just over 40% of children are in school – and one of world’s highest youth unemployment rates. Life expectancy is low as a result of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and inadequate health services.

During the two decades of conflict that followed the fall of the SIAD regime in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes. Today Somalia is the world’s third highest source country for refugees, after Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors.

As of 2016, more than 1.1 million Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while more than 1.1 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, nearly 40,000 Somali refugees have returned home from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp – still houses to approximately 260,000 Somalis. The flow sped up rapidly after the Kenyan Government in May 2016 announced its intention to close the camp, worsening security and humanitarian conditions in receiving communities in south-central Somalia. Despite the conflict in Yemen, thousands of Somalis and other refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa risk their lives crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen and beyond (often Saudi Arabia). Bossaso in Puntland overtook Obock, Djibouti, as the primary departure point in mid-2014.

Somali (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Arabic (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English
Education expenditures
Maternal mortality rate
829 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
23% (2009)
Physicians density
0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density
8.7 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
8.3% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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