Djibouti People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


938,413 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 162


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), Christian 6% (mainly foreign-born residents)

Demographic profile

Djibouti is a poor, predominantly urban country, characterized by high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, and childhood malnutrition. More than 75% 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 hundred thousand 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: 29.97% (male 138,701/female 137,588)

15-24 years: 20.32% (male 88,399/female 98,955)

25-54 years: 40.73% (male 156,016/female 219,406)

55-64 years: 5.01% (male 19,868/female 26,307)

65 years and over: 3.97% (male 16,245/female 20,319) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.6

youth dependency ratio: 43.6

elderly dependency ratio: 7.1

potential support ratio: 14.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 24.9 years

male: 23 years

female: 26.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Population growth rate

2.01% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Birth rate

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

country comparison to the world: 60

Death rate

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

country comparison to the world: 110

Net migration rate

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

country comparison to the world: 24

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: 78.2% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

584,000 DJIBOUTI (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 0.89 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.71 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.83 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 43

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.78 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.17 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 40.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65 years

male: 62.4 years

female: 67.67 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 203

Total fertility rate

2.17 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19% (2012)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.3% of population

rural: 59.1% of population

total: 90.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.7% of population

rural: 40.9% of population

total: 9.7% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

2.3% (2018)

Physicians density

0.22 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 84% of population

rural: 21.5% of population

total: 70.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 16% of population

rural: 78.5% of population

total: 29.9% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

6,800 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 116

HIV/AIDS - deaths

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

13.5% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 131

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

29.9% (2012)

country comparison to the world: 6

Education expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2018)

country comparison to the world: 109

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 7 years

male: 7 years

female: 7 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 73%

male: 72%

female: 74.6% (2017)

country comparison to the world: 1

NOTE: The information regarding Djibouti 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 Djibouti 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Djibouti 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.