Benin: People & Society#

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Beninese (singular and plural)
adjective: Beninese
Ethnic groupsFon and related 38.4%, Adja and related 15.1%, Yoruba and related 12%, Bariba and related 9.6%, Fulani and related 8.6%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4.3%, Dendi and related 2.9%, other 0.9%, foreigner 1.9% (2013 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
ReligionsMuslim 27.7%, Catholic 25.5%, Protestant 13.5% (Celestial 6.7%, Methodist 3.4%, other Protestant 3.4%), Vodoun 11.6%, other Christian 9.5%, other traditional religions 2.6%, other 2.6%, none 5.8% (2013 est.)
Demographic profileBenin has a youthful age structure – almost 65% of the population is under the age of 25 – which is bolstered by high fertility and population growth rates. Benin’s total fertility has been falling over time but remains high, declining from almost 7 children per women in 1990 to 4.8 in 2016. Benin’s low contraceptive use and high unmet need for contraception contribute to the sustained high fertility rate. Although the majority of Beninese women use skilled health care personnel for antenatal care and delivery, the high rate of maternal mortality indicates the need for more access to high quality obstetric care. Poverty, unemployment, increased living costs, and dwindling resources increasingly drive the Beninese to migrate. An estimated 4.4 million, more than 40%, of Beninese live abroad. Virtually all Beninese emigrants move to West African countries, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Of the less than 1% of Beninese emigrants who settle in Europe, the vast majority live in France, Benin’s former colonial ruler. With about 40% of the population living below the poverty line, many desperate parents resort to sending their children to work in wealthy households as domestic servants (a common practice known as vidomegon), mines, quarries, or agriculture domestically or in Nigeria and other neighboring countries, often under brutal conditions. Unlike in other West African countries, where rural people move to the coast, farmers from Benin’s densely populated southern and northwestern regions move to the historically sparsely populated central region to pursue agriculture. Immigrants from West African countries came to Benin in increasing numbers between 1992 and 2002 because of its political stability and porous borders.
Age structure0-14 years: 43.04% (male 2,358,838/female 2,264,204)
15-24 years: 20.32% (male 1,110,607/female 1,072,196)
25-54 years: 30.24% (male 1,641,547/female 1,606,185)
55-64 years: 3.56% (male 165,496/female 217,192)
65 years and over: 2.84% (male 120,629/female 184,564) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 82%
youth dependency ratio: 76.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.3%
potential support ratio: 19% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 18 years
male: 17.7 years
female: 18.4 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.75% (2016 est.)
Birth rate35.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 44% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationPORTO-NOVO (capital) 268,000 (2014); COTONOU (seat of government) 682,000; Abomey-Calavi 757,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.3
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)
Maternal mortality rate405 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 54.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 57.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 61.9 years
male: 60.5 years
female: 63.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.86 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate12.9% (2011/12)
Health expenditures4.6% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 85.2% of population
rural: 72.1% of population
total: 77.9% of population
urban: 14.8% of population
rural: 27.9% of population
total: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 35.6% of population
rural: 7.3% of population
total: 19.7% of population
urban: 64.4% of population
rural: 92.7% of population
total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.06% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS69,100 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths2,800 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate8.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight18% (2014)
Education expenditures4.3% of GDP (2014)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.4%
male: 49.9%
female: 27.3% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 12 years
male: 14 years
female: 11 years (2013)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 1,020,981
percentage: 46% (2006 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 2.4%
male: 1.5%
female: 3.1% (2010 est.)