Comoros: People & Society#

Population794,678 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran
Ethnic groupsAntalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava
LanguagesArabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (official; a blend of Swahili and Arabic) (Comorian)
ReligionsSunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%
note: Islam is the state religion
Demographic profileComoros’ population is a m�lange of Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans, and Indians, and the much smaller number of Europeans that settled on the islands between the 8th and 19th centuries, when they served as a regional trade hub. The Arab and Persian influence is most evident in the islands’ overwhelmingly Muslim majority – about 98% of Comorans are Sunni Muslims. The country is densely populated, averaging nearly 350 people per square mile, although this varies widely among the islands, with Anjouan being the most densely populated. Given the large share of land dedicated to agriculture and Comoros’ growing population, habitable land is becoming increasingly crowded. The combination of increasing population pressure on limited land and resources, widespread poverty, and poor job prospects motivates thousands of Comorans each year to attempt to illegally migrate using small fishing boats to the neighboring island of Mayotte, which is a French territory. The majority of legal Comoran migration to France came after Comoros’ independence from France in 1975, with the flow peaking in the mid-1980s. At least 150,000 to 200,000 people of Comoran citizenship or descent live abroad, mainly in France, where they have gone seeking a better quality of life, job opportunities, higher education (Comoros has no universities), advanced health care, and to finance elaborate traditional wedding ceremonies (aada). Remittances from the diaspora are an economic mainstay, in 2013 representing approximately 25% of Comoros’ GDP and significantly more than the value of its exports of goods and services (only 15% of GDP). Grand Comore, Comoros’ most populous island, is both the primary source of emigrants and the main recipient of remittances. Most remittances are spent on private consumption, but this often goes toward luxury goods and the aada and does not contribute to economic development or poverty reduction. Although the majority of the diaspora is now French-born with more distant ties to Comoros, it is unclear whether they will sustain the current level of remittances.
Age structure0-14 years: 40.1% (male 158,809/female 159,840)
15-24 years: 19.23% (male 73,947/female 78,831)
25-54 years: 32.58% (male 122,936/female 135,962)
55-64 years: 4.21% (male 14,850/female 18,611)
65 years and over: 3.89% (male 14,321/female 16,571) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 75.6%
youth dependency ratio: 70.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9%
potential support ratio: 20.4% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 19.6 years
male: 19 years
female: 20.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.71% (2016 est.)
Birth rate26.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 28.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationMORONI (capital) 56,000 (2014)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth24.6
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)
Maternal mortality rate335 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 61.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 72.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.2 years
male: 61.9 years
female: 66.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate3.47 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate19.4% (2012)
Health expenditures6.7% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density2.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 92.6% of population
rural: 89.1% of population
total: 90.1% of population
urban: 7.4% of population
rural: 10.9% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 48.3% of population
rural: 30.9% of population
total: 35.8% of population
urban: 51.7% of population
rural: 69.1% of population
total: 64.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate5.8% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight16.9% (2012)
Education expenditures5.1% of GDP (2014)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.8%
male: 81.8%
female: 73.7% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2013)