Sudan People - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


49,197,555 (2023 est.)


noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups

Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Ingessana, Uduk, Fallata, Masalit, Dajo, Gimir, Tunjur, Berti; there are over 500 ethnic groups


Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

Arabic audio sample:


Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority

Demographic profile

Sudan’s population grew almost fourfold between 1956 and 2008, the date of its last census.  Even after the southern part of the country became independent South Sudan in 2011, the population of Sudan has continued to grow.  The gender balance overall is fairly even.  Females, however, are more prevalent in rural areas because of males migrating to urban areas in search of work.  The total fertility rate (TFR) remains high despite falling from 7 children per woman in Sudan’s first census in 1955 to about 4.5 in 2022, which can be attributed to early marriage and a low contraceptive prevalence rate.  Among the factors that led to the reduction in fertility are family planning, improvement in women’s education and participation in the labor force outside the home, and migration and urbanization. 

The continued slow decline in fertility accompanied by a drop in mortality and increased life expectancy has produced an age structure where approximately 55% of the population was of working age (15-64) as of 2020.  This share will grow as the sizable youth population becomes working age.  As Sudan’s working age population increasingly outnumbers the youth and elderly populations (the dependent populations), the country will approach the possibility of a demographic dividend.  The window of opportunity for potential economic growth depends not only on a favorable age structure but also on having a trained and educated workforce, job creation (particularly in the formal market), and investment in health, as well as generating savings to invest in schooling and care for the elderly.  As of 2018, Sudan’s literacy rate was just over 60%, and even lower among women.  Improvements in school enrollment, student-teacher ratio, infrastructure, funding, and educational quality could help the country to realize a demographic dividend.

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.47% (male 10,115,311/female 9,793,060)

15-64 years: 56.35% (male 13,774,002/female 13,946,621)

65 years and over: 3.19% (2023 est.) (male 814,480/female 754,081)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 76.9

youth dependency ratio: 74

elderly dependency ratio: 6.2

potential support ratio: 16.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.3 years

male: 18.1 years

female: 18.5 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

2.55% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-1.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

with the exception of a ribbon of settlement that corresponds to the banks of the Nile, northern Sudan, which extends into the dry Sahara, is sparsely populated; more abundant vegetation and broader access to water increases population distribution in the south extending habitable range along nearly the entire border with South Sudan; sizeable areas of population are found around Khartoum, southeast between the Blue and White Nile Rivers, and throughout South Darfur as shown on this population distribution map


urban population: 36.3% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Major urban areas - population

6.344 million KHARTOUM (capital), 1.057 million Nyala (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.08 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 41.4 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 46.87 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 35.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.45 years

male: 65.19 years

female: 69.81 years (2023 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.54 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

2.21 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

12.2% (2014)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99% of population

rural: 80.7% of population

total: 87.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 1% of population

rural: 19.3% of population

total: 12.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

3% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.26 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

0.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 72.1% of population

rural: 30.6% of population

total: 45.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 27.9% of population

rural: 69.4% of population

total: 54.7% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and Rift Valley fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 22 March 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Sudan 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

6.6% (2014)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.93 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

33% (2014)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

61.4% (2023 est.)

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 60.7%

male: 65.4%

female: 56.1% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 8 years

male: 8 years

female: 7 years (2015)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 35.6%

male: 30.5%

female: 45.8% (2021 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Sudan 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 Sudan 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Sudan 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.