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Demographics of Africa - statistics & facts

In 2021, Africa counts over 1.35 billion inhabitants and is the second most populous continent in the world after Asia. Rapid population growth, high fertility rates, low median age and life expectancy, large households, and widespread poverty characterize the demographics of Africa. The annual growth rate of the population has constantly been above 2.45 percent from 2000 onwards. While the growth rate has been declining slightly in recent years, the population continues to increase. The continent would reach nearly 2.5 billion inhabitants by 2050.

What are the most populous countries in Africa?

With over 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It is followed by Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nigeria’s population is projected to exceed 400 million people by 2050, climbing the ranking of the most populous countries in the world. In general, several African countries are among the fastest-growing populations worldwide. The population of South Sudan registered a growth of 5.05 percent in 2021, followed by Burundi and Niger. High fertility is one of the reasons that lead to population growth. Africa has the highest fertility rate in the world, set at an average of around four children per woman.

What is the median age in Africa?

Africa has a very low median age of around 20 years, meaning that half of the population is older and half is younger than that age. At the same time, the continent registers the lowest life expectancy at birth worldwide, with people living 64 years on average. Longevity in Africa is hindered by poor healthcare, which concerns the majority of the population. Neonatal conditions and respiratory infections are, in fact, the leading causes of death on the continent. Overall, low life expectancy at birth, as well as the high fertility rate, explain why Africa's population is particularly young.

How poor is Africa’s population?

In 2021, around 489 million people in Africa were extremely poor, living on less than 1.90 U.S. dollars per day. Extreme poverty is particularly widespread in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African countries hosting the largest shares of the global poor population. In addition, estimates made in December 2020 showed that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would have pushed additional millions of people into poverty between 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, poverty levels in Africa are forecast to decline drastically. The share of extremely poor would reach 1.7 percent between 2056 and 2065, compared to around 35 percent from 2016 to 2025. Declining poverty, together with improved health conditions, would increase life expectancy and reduce mortality on the continent.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Demographics of Africa " and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Age structure

Births and fertility rate

Life expectancy

Mortality

Poverty

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Demographics of Africa ".

Demographics of Africa

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Demographics of Africa - statistics & facts

In 2021, Africa counts over 1.35 billion inhabitants and is the second most populous continent in the world after Asia. Rapid population growth, high fertility rates, low median age and life expectancy, large households, and widespread poverty characterize the demographics of Africa. The annual growth rate of the population has constantly been above 2.45 percent from 2000 onwards. While the growth rate has been declining slightly in recent years, the population continues to increase. The continent would reach nearly 2.5 billion inhabitants by 2050.

What are the most populous countries in Africa?

With over 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It is followed by Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nigeria’s population is projected to exceed 400 million people by 2050, climbing the ranking of the most populous countries in the world. In general, several African countries are among the fastest-growing populations worldwide. The population of South Sudan registered a growth of 5.05 percent in 2021, followed by Burundi and Niger. High fertility is one of the reasons that lead to population growth. Africa has the highest fertility rate in the world, set at an average of around four children per woman.

What is the median age in Africa?

Africa has a very low median age of around 20 years, meaning that half of the population is older and half is younger than that age. At the same time, the continent registers the lowest life expectancy at birth worldwide, with people living 64 years on average. Longevity in Africa is hindered by poor healthcare, which concerns the majority of the population. Neonatal conditions and respiratory infections are, in fact, the leading causes of death on the continent. Overall, low life expectancy at birth, as well as the high fertility rate, explain why Africa's population is particularly young.

How poor is Africa’s population?

In 2021, around 489 million people in Africa were extremely poor, living on less than 1.90 U.S. dollars per day. Extreme poverty is particularly widespread in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African countries hosting the largest shares of the global poor population. In addition, estimates made in December 2020 showed that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would have pushed additional millions of people into poverty between 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, poverty levels in Africa are forecast to decline drastically. The share of extremely poor would reach 1.7 percent between 2056 and 2065, compared to around 35 percent from 2016 to 2025. Declining poverty, together with improved health conditions, would increase life expectancy and reduce mortality on the continent.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Demographics of Africa ".

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