Cameroon People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


28,524,175 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

country comparison to the world: 51


noun: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups

Bamileke-Bamu 24.3%, Beti/Bassa, Mbam 21.6%, Biu-Mandara 14.6%, Arab-Choa/Hausa/Kanuri 11%, Adamawa-Ubangi, 9.8%, Grassfields 7.7%, Kako, Meka/Pygmy 3.3%, Cotier/Ngoe/Oroko 2.7%, Southwestern Bantu 0.7%, foreign/other ethnic group 4.5% (2018 est.)


24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)

printed major-language sample:
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)


Roman Catholic 38.3%, Protestant 25.5%, other Christian 6.9%, Muslim 24.4%, animist 2.2%, other 0.5%, none 2.2% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Cameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25. Fertility is falling but remains at a high level, especially among poor, rural, and uneducated women, in part because of inadequate access to contraception. Life expectancy remains low at about 55 years due to the prevalence of HIV and AIDs and an elevated maternal mortality rate, which has remained high since 1990. Cameroon, particularly the northern region, is vulnerable to food insecurity largely because of government mismanagement, corruption, high production costs, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. Despite economic growth in some regions, poverty is on the rise, and is most prevalent in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of jobs, declining incomes, poor school and health care infrastructure, and a lack of clean water and sanitation. Underinvestment in social safety nets and ineffective public financial management also contribute to Cameroon’s high rate of poverty.  The activities of Boko Haram, other armed groups, and counterinsurgency operations have worsened food insecurity in the Far North region.  

International migration has been driven by unemployment (including fewer government jobs), poverty, the search for educational opportunities, and corruption. The US and Europe are preferred destinations, but, with tighter immigration restrictions in these countries, young Cameroonians are increasingly turning to neighboring states, such as Gabon and Nigeria, South Africa, other parts of Africa, and the Near and Far East. Cameroon’s limited resources make it dependent on UN support to host more than 420,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of September 2020. These refugees and asylum seekers are primarily from the Central African Republic and Nigeria.  Internal and external displacement have grown dramatically in recent years.  Boko Haram's attacks and counterattacks by government forces in the Far North since 2014 have increased the number of internally displaced people.  Armed conflict between separatists and Cameroon's military in the the Northwest and Southwest since 2016 have displaced hundreds of thousands of the country's Anglophone minority.

Age structure

0-14 years: 42.34% (male 5,927,640/female 5,820,226)

15-24 years: 20.04% (male 2,782,376/female 2,776,873)

25-54 years: 30.64% (male 4,191,151/female 4,309,483)

55-64 years: 3.87% (male 520,771/female 552,801)

65 years and over: 3.11% (male 403,420/female 460,248) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 81.1

youth dependency ratio: 76.2

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18.5 years

male: 18.2 years

female: 18.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 209

Population growth rate

2.77% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Birth rate

35.91 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Death rate

7.93 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Net migration rate

-0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

Population distribution

population concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 58.1% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

4.164 million YAOUNDE (capital), 3.793 million Douala (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.1 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality rate

529 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Infant mortality rate

total: 50.09 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.01 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 62.79 years

male: 61.07 years

female: 64.57 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 210

Total fertility rate

4.61 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19.3% (2018)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 94% of population

rural: 54.6% of population

total: 76.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 6% of population

rural: 45.3% of population

total: 23.5% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

3.5% (2018)

Physicians density

0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 83.3% of population

rural: 25.6% of population

total: 57.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 16.7% of population

rural: 74.4% of population

total: 42.3% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

3% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

500,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

HIV/AIDS - deaths

14,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

11.4% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 135

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11% (2018/19)

country comparison to the world: 55

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2018)

country comparison to the world: 129


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 77.1%

male: 82.6%

female: 71.6% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 13 years

female: 11 years (2016)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6.3%

male: 5.8%

female: 6.8% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

NOTE: The information regarding Cameroon on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cameroon 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cameroon 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.