The Gambia: People & Society#

Population2,009,648 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
Ethnic groupsMandinka/Jahanka 33.8%, Fulani/Tukulur/Lorobo 22.1%, Wollof 12.2%, Jola/Karoninka 10.9%, Serahuleh 7%, Serere 3.2%, Manjago 2.1%, Bambara 1%, Creole/Aku Marabout 0.8%, other 0.9%, non-Gambian 5.2%, no answer 0.7% (2013 est.)
LanguagesEnglish (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
ReligionsMuslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no answer 0.1% (2013 est.)
Demographic profileThe 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.
Age structure0-14 years: 37.88% (male 382,215/female 379,029)
15-24 years: 20.64% (male 204,979/female 209,866)
25-54 years: 33.92% (male 333,875/female 347,779)
55-64 years: 4.14% (male 39,978/female 43,177)
65 years and over: 3.42% (male 32,011/female 36,739) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 94.2%
youth dependency ratio: 89.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.5%
potential support ratio: 22.3% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 20.7 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 21 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.11% (2016 est.)
Birth rate30.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 59.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.33% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationBANJUL (capital) 504,000 (2015)
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: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.9
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate706 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 67.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 56.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.9 years
male: 62.5 years
female: 67.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate3.63 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate9% (2013)
Health expenditures7.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.11 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 94.2% of population
rural: 84.4% of population
total: 90.2% of population
urban: 5.8% of population
rural: 15.6% of population
total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 61.5% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 58.9% of population
urban: 38.5% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 41.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.82% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS20,500 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 (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 and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate9.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight16.4% (2013)
Education expenditures2.8% of GDP (2013)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 55.5%
male: 63.9%
female: 47.6% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2010)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 103,389
percentage: 25% (2006 est.)