Djibouti People - 2023



976,143 (2023 est.)


noun: Djiboutian(s)

adjective: Djiboutian

Ethnic groups

Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (mostly Yemeni Arab, also French, Ethiopian, and Italian)


French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar


Sunni Muslim 94% (nearly all Djiboutians), other 6% (mainly foreign-born residents - Shia Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Baha'i, and atheist)

Demographic profile

Djibouti is a poor, predominantly urban country, characterized by high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, and childhood malnutrition. Approximately 70% of the population lives in cities and towns (predominantly in the capital, Djibouti). The rural population subsists primarily on nomadic herding. Prone to droughts and floods, the country has few natural resources and must import more than 80% of its food from neighboring countries or Europe. Health care, particularly outside the capital, is limited by poor infrastructure, shortages of equipment and supplies, and a lack of qualified personnel. More than a third of health care recipients are migrants because the services are still better than those available in their neighboring home countries. The nearly universal practice of female genital cutting reflects Djibouti’s lack of gender equality and is a major contributor to obstetrical complications and its high rates of maternal and infant mortality. A 1995 law prohibiting the practice has never been enforced.

Because of its political stability and its strategic location at the confluence of East Africa and the Gulf States along the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, Djibouti is a key transit point for migrants and asylum seekers heading for the Gulf States and beyond. Each year some 100,000 people, mainly Ethiopians and some Somalis, journey through Djibouti, usually to the port of Obock, to attempt a dangerous sea crossing to Yemen. However, with the escalation of the ongoing Yemen conflict, Yemenis began fleeing to Djibouti in March 2015, with almost 20,000 arriving by August 2017. Most Yemenis remain unregistered and head for Djibouti City rather than seeking asylum at one of Djibouti’s three spartan refugee camps. Djibouti has been hosting refugees and asylum seekers, predominantly Somalis and lesser numbers of Ethiopians and Eritreans, at camps for 20 years, despite lacking potable water, food shortages, and unemployment.

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.65% (male 140,365/female 139,299)

15-64 years: 67.21% (male 284,488/female 371,529)

65 years and over: 4.15% (2023 est.) (male 17,757/female 22,705)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.6

youth dependency ratio: 47.5

elderly dependency ratio: 6.9

potential support ratio: 14.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 24.9 years

male: 23 years

female: 26.4 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.93% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

22.03 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Death rate

7.08 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Net migration rate

4.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

most densely populated areas are in the east; the largest city is Djibouti, with a population over 600,000; no other city in the country has a total population over 50,000 as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 78.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.56% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

600,000 DJIBOUTI (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.77 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.83 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

234 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 46.02 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 53.12 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 38.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.61 years

male: 63.04 years

female: 68.25 years (2023 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.13 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

1.05 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19% (2012)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.7% of population

rural: 59.3% of population

total: 90.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.3% of population

rural: 40.7% of population

total: 9.2% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.22 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 87.7% of population

rural: 24.2% of population

total: 73.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 12.3% of population

rural: 75.8% of population

total: 26.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

note: on 22 March 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Djibouti is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

13.5% (2016)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.21 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.05 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.14 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

29.9% (2012)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

50.6% (2023 est.)

Education expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2018 est.)


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 7 years

male: 7 years

female: 7 years (2011)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 79.9%

male: 78.6%

female: 82.2% (2021 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Djibouti on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Djibouti 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Djibouti 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.