Democratic Republic of the Congo: 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: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groupsover 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
LanguagesFrench (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
ReligionsRoman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
Demographic profileDespite a wealth of fertile soil, hydroelectric power potential, and mineral resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) struggles with many socioeconomic problems, including high infant and maternal mortality rates, malnutrition, poor vaccination coverage, lack of access to improved water sources and sanitation, and frequent and early fertility. Ongoing conflict, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of investment have resulted in food insecurity; almost 30 percent of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. The overall coverage of basic public services – education, health, sanitation, and potable water – is very limited and piecemeal, with substantial regional and rural/urban disparities. Fertility remains high at almost 5 children per woman and is likely to remain high because of the low use of contraception and the cultural preference for larger families. The DRC is a source and host country for refugees. Between 2012 and 2014, more than 119,000 Congolese refugees returned from the Republic of Congo to the relative stability of northwest DRC, but more than 540,000 Congolese refugees remained abroad as of year-end 2015. In addition, more than 1.7 million Congolese are internally displaced, the vast majority fleeing violence in the DRC’s eastern provinces between rebel group and Congolese armed forces. Thousands of refugees have come to the DRC from neighboring countries, including Rwanda, the Central African Republic, and Burundi.
Age structure0-14 years: 42.2% (male 17,300,707/female 17,024,082)
15-24 years: 21.44% (male 8,747,038/female 8,694,000)
25-54 years: 30.13% (male 12,227,971/female 12,273,304)
55-64 years: 3.58% (male 1,374,050/female 1,535,973)
65 years and over: 2.65% (male 910,456/female 1,243,469) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 95.9%
youth dependency ratio: 90.1%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8%
potential support ratio: 17.2% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.4 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.42% (2016 est.)
Birth rate34.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 42.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationKINSHASA (capital) 11.587 million; Lubumbashi 2.015 million; Mbuji-Mayi 20.007 million; Kananga 1.169 million; Kisangani 1.04 million; Bukavu 832,000 (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 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.9
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013/14 est.)
Maternal mortality rate693 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 69.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 73.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 57.3 years
male: 55.8 years
female: 58.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.53 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate17.7% (2010)
Health expenditures4.3% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density0.8 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 81.1% of population
rural: 31.2% of population
total: 52.4% of population
urban: 18.9% of population
rural: 68.8% of population
total: 47.6% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 28.5% of population
rural: 28.7% of population
total: 28.7% of population
urban: 71.5% of population
rural: 71.3% of population
total: 71.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.85% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS374,100 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths21,700 (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 trypanosomiasis-gambiense (African sleeping sickness)
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate3.7% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight23.4% (2014)
Education expenditures2.2% of GDP (2013)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 63.8%
male: 78.1%
female: 50% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2013)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 8,284,395
percentage: 42% (2010 est.)