Liberia People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


5,214,030 (July 2021 est.)


noun: Liberian(s)

adjective: Liberian

Ethnic groups

Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, Krahn 4%, Vai 4%, Mandingo 3.2%, Gbandi 3%, Mende 1.3%, Sapo 1.3%, other Liberian 1.7%, other African 1.4%, non-African .1% (2008 est.)


English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence


Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)

Demographic profile

Liberia’s high fertility rate of nearly 5 children per woman and large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – will sustain a high dependency ratio for many years to come. Significant progress has been made in preventing child deaths, despite a lack of health care workers and infrastructure. Infant and child mortality have dropped nearly 70% since 1990; the annual reduction rate of about 5.4% is the highest in Africa.

Nevertheless, Liberia’s high maternal mortality rate remains among the world’s worst; it reflects a high unmet need for family planning services, frequency of early childbearing, lack of quality obstetric care, high adolescent fertility, and a low proportion of births attended by a medical professional. Female mortality is also increased by the prevalence of female genital cutting (FGC), which is practiced by 10 of Liberia’s 16 tribes and affects more than two-thirds of women and girls. FGC is an initiation ritual performed in rural bush schools, which teach traditional beliefs on marriage and motherhood and are an obstacle to formal classroom education for Liberian girls.

Liberia has been both a source and a destination for refugees. During Liberia’s 14-year civil war (1989-2003), more than 250,000 people became refugees and another half million were internally displaced. Between 2004 and the cessation of refugee status for Liberians in June 2012, the UNHCR helped more than 155,000 Liberians to voluntarily repatriate, while others returned home on their own. Some Liberian refugees spent more than two decades living in other West African countries. Liberia hosted more than 125,000 Ivoirian refugees escaping post-election violence in 2010-11; as of mid-2017, about 12,000 Ivoirian refugees were still living in Liberia as of October 2017 because of instability.

Age structure

0-14 years: 43.35% (male 1,111,479/female 1,087,871)

15-24 years: 20.35% (male 516,136/female 516,137)

25-54 years: 30.01% (male 747,983/female 774,615)

55-64 years: 3.46% (male 89,150/female 86,231)

65 years and over: 2.83% (male 70,252/female 73,442) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 77.6

youth dependency ratio: 71.7

elderly dependency ratio: 5.9

potential support ratio: 17 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18 years

male: 17.7 years

female: 18.2 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

2.74% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-2.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

more than half of the population lives in urban areas, with approximately one-third living within an 80-km radius of Monrovia as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 52.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.569 million MONROVIA (capital) (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: 1.03 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.1 years (2019/20 est.)

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

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 45.98 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 50.16 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.1 years

male: 62.86 years

female: 67.4 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.84 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

24.9% (2019/20)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 93.8% of population

rural: 67.9% of population

total: 81% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.2% of population

rural: 32.1% of population

total: 19% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

6.7% (2018)

Physicians density

0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

Hospital bed density

0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 64.1% of population

rural: 23.5% of population

total: 44.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 35.9% of population

rural: 76.5% of population

total: 55.9% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.1% (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

35,000 (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,300 (2020 est.)

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, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

9.9% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

10.9% (2019/20)

Education expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2018)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 48.3%

male: 62.7%

female: 34.1% (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.3%

male: 2.4%

female: 2.2% (2016 est.)

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