Gambia The People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


2,221,301 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146


noun: Gambian(s)

adjective: Gambian

Ethnic groups

Mandinka/Jahanka 34%, Fulani/Tukulur/Lorobo 22.4%, Wolof 12.6%, Jola/Karoninka 10.7%, Serahuleh 6.6%, Serer 3.2%, Manjago 2.1%, Bambara 1%, Creole/Aku Marabout 0.7%, other 0.9%, non-Gambian 5.2%, no answer 0.6% (2013 est.)


English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars


Muslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no response 0.1% (2013 est.)

Demographic profile

The Gambia’s youthful age structure – almost 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – is likely to persist because the country’s total fertility rate remains strong at nearly 4 children per woman. The overall literacy rate is around 55%, and is significantly lower for women than for men. At least 70% of the populace are farmers who are reliant on rain-fed agriculture and cannot afford improved seeds and fertilizers. Crop failures caused by droughts between 2011 and 2013 have increased poverty, food shortages, and malnutrition.

The Gambia is a source country for migrants and a transit and destination country for migrants and refugees. Since the 1980s, economic deterioration, drought, and high unemployment, especially among youths, have driven both domestic migration (largely urban) and migration abroad (legal and illegal). Emigrants are largely skilled workers, including doctors and nurses, and provide a significant amount of remittances. The top receiving countries for Gambian emigrants are Spain, the US, Nigeria, Senegal, and the UK. While the Gambia and Spain do not share historic, cultural, or trade ties, rural Gambians have migrated to Spain in large numbers because of its proximity and the availability of jobs in its underground economy (this flow slowed following the onset of Spain’s late 2007 economic crisis).

The Gambia’s role as a host country to refugees is a result of wars in several of its neighboring West African countries. Since 2006, refugees from the Casamance conflict in Senegal have replaced their pattern of flight and return with permanent settlement in The Gambia, often moving in with relatives along the Senegal-Gambia border. The strain of providing for about 7,400 Casamance refugees has increased poverty among Gambian villagers.

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.15% (male 391,993/female 388,816)

15-24 years: 20.12% (male 221,519/female 225,414)

25-54 years: 36.39% (male 396,261/female 412,122)

55-64 years: 4.53% (male 48,032/female 52,538)

65 years and over: 3.81% (male 38,805/female 45,801) (2021 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 86.9

youth dependency ratio: 82.1

elderly dependency ratio: 4.7

potential support ratio: 21.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 21.8 years

male: 21.5 years

female: 22.2 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Population growth rate

1.82% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Birth rate

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

country comparison to the world: 43

Death rate

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

country comparison to the world: 132

Net migration rate

-1.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 157

Population distribution

settlements are found scattered along the Gambia River; the largest communities, including the capital of Banjul, and the country's largest city, Serekunda, are found at the mouth of the Gambia River along the Atlantic coast as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 63.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

459,000 BANJUL (capital) (2021)

note: includes the local government areas of Banjul and Kanifing

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.7 years (2019/20 est.)

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

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 13

Infant mortality rate

total: 65.04 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 70.93 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 58.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 66.15 years

male: 63.8 years

female: 68.57 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

Total fertility rate

3.13 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Contraceptive prevalence rate

16.8% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 15-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 91.4% of population

rural: 80.4% of population

total: 87.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.6% of population

rural: 19.6% of population

total: 12.9% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

3.1% (2018)

Physicians density

0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

Hospital bed density

1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 80.4% of population

rural: 44.5% of population

total: 66.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 19.6% of population

rural: 55.5% of population

total: 33.7% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

27,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,300 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

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

10.3% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 139

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.6% (2019/20)

country comparison to the world: 52

Education expenditures

2.4% of GDP (2018)

country comparison to the world: 155


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 50.8%

male: 61.8%

female: 41.6% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 9 years

female: 9 years (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 25.8%

male: 21%

female: 32.3% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

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