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Gambia, The Demographics Profile

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Population2,221,301 (July 2021 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Gambian(s)

adjective: Gambian
Ethnic groupsMandinka/Jahanka 34%, Fulani/Tukulur/Lorobo 22.4%, Wolof 12.6%, Jola/Karoninka 10.7%, Serahuleh 6.6%, Serer 3.2%, Manjago 2.1%, Bambara 1%, Creole/Aku Marabout 0.7%, other 0.9%, non-Gambian 5.2%, no answer 0.6% (2013 est.)
LanguagesEnglish (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
ReligionsMuslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no response 0.1% (2013 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 35.15% (male 391,993/female 388,816)

15-24 years: 20.12% (male 221,519/female 225,414)

25-54 years: 36.39% (male 396,261/female 412,122)

55-64 years: 4.53% (male 48,032/female 52,538)

65 years and over: 3.81% (male 38,805/female 45,801) (2021 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 86.9

youth dependency ratio: 82.1

elderly dependency ratio: 4.7

potential support ratio: 21.1 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 21.8 years

male: 21.5 years

female: 22.2 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate1.82% (2021 est.)
Birth rate26.42 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate6.66 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-1.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionsettlements are found scattered along the Gambia River; the largest communities, including the capital of Banjul, and the country's largest city, Serekunda, are found at the mouth of the Gambia River along the Atlantic coast as shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 63.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population459,000 BANJUL (capital) (2021)

note: includes the local government areas of Banjul and Kanifing
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.7 years (2019/20 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49
Maternal mortality rate597 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 65.04 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 70.93 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 58.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 66.15 years

male: 63.8 years

female: 68.57 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate3.13 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate16.8% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 15-49
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 91.4% of population

rural: 80.4% of population

total: 87.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.6% of population

rural: 19.6% of population

total: 12.9% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures3.1% (2018)
Physicians density0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Hospital bed density1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 80.4% of population

rural: 44.5% of population

total: 66.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 19.6% of population

rural: 55.5% of population

total: 33.7% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.8% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS27,000 (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,300 (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 rate10.3% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11.6% (2019/20)
Education expenditures2.4% of GDP (2018)
Demographic profile

The Gambia’s youthful age structure – almost 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – is likely to persist because the country’s total fertility rate remains strong at nearly 4 children per woman. The overall literacy rate is around 55%, and is significantly lower for women than for men. At least 70% of the populace are farmers who are reliant on rain-fed agriculture and cannot afford improved seeds and fertilizers. Crop failures caused by droughts between 2011 and 2013 have increased poverty, food shortages, and malnutrition.

The Gambia is a source country for migrants and a transit and destination country for migrants and refugees. Since the 1980s, economic deterioration, drought, and high unemployment, especially among youths, have driven both domestic migration (largely urban) and migration abroad (legal and illegal). Emigrants are largely skilled workers, including doctors and nurses, and provide a significant amount of remittances. The top receiving countries for Gambian emigrants are Spain, the US, Nigeria, Senegal, and the UK. While the Gambia and Spain do not share historic, cultural, or trade ties, rural Gambians have migrated to Spain in large numbers because of its proximity and the availability of jobs in its underground economy (this flow slowed following the onset of Spain’s late 2007 economic crisis).

The Gambia’s role as a host country to refugees is a result of wars in several of its neighboring West African countries. Since 2006, refugees from the Casamance conflict in Senegal have replaced their pattern of flight and return with permanent settlement in The Gambia, often moving in with relatives along the Senegal-Gambia border. The strain of providing for about 7,400 Casamance refugees has increased poverty among Gambian villagers.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 50.8%

male: 61.8%

female: 41.6% (2015)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 9 years

male: 9 years

female: 9 years (2010)

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

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