Sao Tome and Principe: People & Society#

Population197,541 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Sao Tomean(s)
adjective: Sao Tomean
Ethnic groupsmestico, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cabo Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese), Asians (mostly Chinese)
LanguagesPortuguese 98.4% (official), Forro 36.2%, Cabo Verdian 8.5%, French 6.8%, Angolar 6.6%, English 4.9%, Lunguie 1%, other (including sign language) 2.4%
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2012 est.)
ReligionsCatholic 55.7%, Adventist 4.1%, Assembly of God 3.4%, New Apostolic 2.9%, Mana 2.3%, Universal Kingdom of God 2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.2%, none 21.2%, unspecified 1% (2012 est.)
Demographic profileSao Tome and Principe’s youthful age structure – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – and high fertility rate ensure future population growth. Although Sao Tome has a net negative international migration rate, emigration is not a sufficient safety valve to reduce already high levels of unemployment and poverty. While literacy and primary school attendance have improved in recent years, Sao Tome still struggles to improve its educational quality and to increase its secondary school completion rate. Despite some improvements in education and access to healthcare, Sao Tome and Principe has much to do to decrease its high poverty rate, create jobs, and increase its economic growth. The population of Sao Tome and Principe descends primarily from the islands’ colonial Portuguese settlers, who first arrived in the late 15th century, and the much larger number of African slaves brought in for sugar production and the slave trade. For about 100 years after the abolition of slavery in 1876, the population was further shaped by the widespread use of imported unskilled contract laborers from Portugal’s other African colonies, who worked on coffee and cocoa plantations. In the first decades after abolition, most workers were brought from Angola under a system similar to slavery. While Angolan laborers were technically free, they were forced or coerced into long contracts that were automatically renewed and extended to their children. Other contract workers from Mozambique and famine-stricken Cape Verde first arrived in the early 20th century under short-term contracts and had the option of repatriation, although some chose to remain in Sao Tome and Principe. Today’s Sao Tomean population consists of mesticos (creole descendants of the European immigrants and African slaves that first inhabited the islands), forros (descendants of freed African slaves), angolares (descendants of runaway African slaves that formed a community in the south of Sao Tome Island and today are fishermen), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (locally born children of contract laborers), and lesser numbers of Europeans and Asians.
Age structure0-14 years: 42.47% (male 42,660/female 41,234)
15-24 years: 20.33% (male 20,358/female 19,808)
25-54 years: 30.66% (male 29,728/female 30,829)
55-64 years: 3.7% (male 3,342/female 3,959)
65 years and over: 2.85% (male 2,506/female 3,117) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 84.2%
youth dependency ratio: 78.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7%
potential support ratio: 17.6% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.2 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.78% (2016 est.)
Birth rate33.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-8.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 65.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.58% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationSAO TOME (capital) 71,000 (2014)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.4
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008/09 est.)
Maternal mortality rate156 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 46.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 44.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.9 years
male: 63.6 years
female: 66.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.4 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate38.4% (2008/09)
Health expenditures8.4% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 93.6% of population
total: 97.1% of population
urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 6.4% of population
total: 2.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 40.8% of population
rural: 23.3% of population
total: 34.7% of population
urban: 59.2% of population
rural: 76.7% of population
total: 65.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.78% (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS1,000 (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths100 (2014 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate10.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight8.8% (2014)
Education expenditures3.9% of GDP (2014)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.9%
male: 81.8%
female: 68.4% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2015)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 3,235
percentage: 8% (2006 est.)