Somalia: People & Society#

note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Somali(s)
adjective: Somali
Ethnic groupsSomali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
LanguagesSomali (official), Arabic (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English
ReligionsSunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter)
Demographic profileSomalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60% of Somalia’s population is younger than 25, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 6 children per woman – a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s. A lack of educational and job opportunities is a major source of tension for Somalia’s large youth cohort, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and pirate groups. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest primary school enrollment rates – just over 40% of children are in school – and one of world’s highest youth unemployment rates. Life expectancy is low as a result of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and inadequate health services. During the two decades of conflict that followed the fall of the SIAD regime in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes. Today Somalia is the world’s third highest source country for refugees, after Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors. As of 2016, more than 1.1 million Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while more than 1.1 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, more than 24,000 Somali refugees have returned home from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp – home to more than 300,000 Somalis. The flow has sped up rapidly since May 2016, when the Kenyan Government announced its intention to close the camp, worsening security and humanitarian conditions in receiving communities in south-central Somalia. Despite the conflict in Yemen, thousands of Somalis and other refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa risk their lives crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen and beyond (often Saudi Arabia). Bossaso in Puntland overtook Obock, Djibouti, as the primary departure point in mid-2014.
Age structure0-14 years: 43.42% (male 2,345,536/female 2,351,886)
15-24 years: 18.87% (male 1,031,804/female 1,009,831)
25-54 years: 31.47% (male 1,762,093/female 1,641,699)
55-64 years: 4.02% (male 213,259/female 221,520)
65 years and over: 2.22% (male 92,966/female 146,760) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 98.1%
youth dependency ratio: 92.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6%
potential support ratio: 17.9% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 17.9 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 17.8 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.92% (2016 est.)
Birth rate40 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate13.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-7.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 39.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.06% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationMOGADISHU (capital) 2.138 million; Hargeysa 760,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate732 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 96.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 105.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 87.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 52.4 years
male: 50.3 years
female: 54.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate5.89 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate14.6% (2006)
Physicians density0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 69.6% of population
rural: 8.8% of population
total: 31.7% of population
urban: 30.4% of population
rural: 91.2% of population
total: 68.3% of population (2011 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 52% of population
rural: 6.3% of population
total: 23.6% of population
urban: 48% of population
rural: 93.7% of population
total: 76.4% of population (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.5% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS30,200 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths2,000 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate3.9% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight23% (2009)
Education expendituresNA
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 1,148,265
percentage: 49% (2006 est.)