Cameroon: 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: Cameroonian(s)
adjective: Cameroonian
Ethnic groupsCameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%
Languages24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
ReligionsCatholic 38.4%, Protestant 26.3%, other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 20.9%, animist 5.6%, other 1%, non-believer 3.2% (2005 est.)
Demographic profileCameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25. Fertility is falling but remains at a high level, especially among poor, rural, and uneducated women, in part because of inadequate access to contraception. Life expectancy remains low at about 55 years due to the prevalence of HIV and AIDs and an elevated maternal mortality rate, which has remained high since 1990. Cameroon, particularly the northern region, is vulnerable to food insecurity largely because of government mismanagement, corruption, high production costs, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. Despite economic growth in some regions, poverty is on the rise, and is most prevalent in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of jobs, declining incomes, poor school and health care infrastructure, and a lack of clean water and sanitation. Underinvestment in social safety nets and ineffective public financial management also contribute to Cameroon’s high rate of poverty. International migration has been driven by unemployment (including fewer government jobs), poverty, the search for educational opportunities, and corruption. The US and Europe are preferred destinations, but, with tighter immigration restrictions in these countries, young Cameroonians are increasingly turning to neighboring states, such as Gabon and Nigeria, South Africa, other parts of Africa, and the Near and Far East. Cameroon’s limited resources make it dependent on UN support to host more than 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers. These refugees and asylum seekers are primarily from the Central African Republic and more recently Nigeria.
Age structure0-14 years: 42.6% (male 5,228,047/female 5,149,228)
15-24 years: 19.55% (male 2,393,598/female 2,368,557)
25-54 years: 30.71% (male 3,762,054/female 3,718,266)
55-64 years: 3.97% (male 471,306/female 495,462)
65 years and over: 3.18% (male 360,386/female 413,899) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 84.3%
youth dependency ratio: 78.4%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%
potential support ratio: 16.9% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.5 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.58% (2016 est.)
Birth rate35.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 54.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationYAOUNDE (capital) 3.066 million; Douala 2.943 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.7
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011 est.)
Maternal mortality rate596 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 52.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 58.5 years
male: 57.1 years
female: 59.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.7 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate23.4% (2011)
Health expenditures4.1% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 94.8% of population
rural: 52.7% of population
total: 75.6% of population
urban: 5.2% of population
rural: 47.3% of population
total: 24.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 61.8% of population
rural: 26.8% of population
total: 45.8% of population
urban: 38.2% of population
rural: 73.2% of population
total: 54.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate4.46% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS619,200 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths33,100 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate9.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight14.8% (2014)
Education expenditures3% of GDP (2013)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 75%
male: 81.2%
female: 68.9% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2011)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 1,396,281
percentage: 31% (2006 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 6.4%
male: 5.3%
female: 7.5% (2010 est.)