Senegal People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


16,082,442 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72


noun: Senegalese (singular and plural)

adjective: Senegalese

Ethnic groups

Wolof 37.1%, Pular 26.2%, Serer 17%, Mandinka 5.6%, Jola 4.5%, Soninke 1.4%, other 8.3% (includes Europeans and persons of Lebanese descent) (2017 est.)


French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke


Muslim 95.9% (most adhere to one of the four main Sufi brotherhoods), Christian 4.1% (mostly Roman Catholic) (2017 est.)

Demographic profile

Senegal has a large and growing youth population but has not been successful in developing its potential human capital. Senegal’s high total fertility rate of almost 4.5 children per woman continues to bolster the country’s large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. Fertility remains high because of the continued desire for large families, the low use of family planning, and early childbearing. Because of the country’s high illiteracy rate (more than 40%), high unemployment (even among university graduates), and widespread poverty, Senegalese youths face dim prospects; women are especially disadvantaged.

Senegal historically was a destination country for economic migrants, but in recent years West African migrants more often use Senegal as a transit point to North Africa – and sometimes illegally onward to Europe. The country also has been host to several thousand black Mauritanian refugees since they were expelled from their homeland during its 1989 border conflict with Senegal. The country’s economic crisis in the 1970s stimulated emigration; departures accelerated in the 1990s. Destinations shifted from neighboring countries, which were experiencing economic decline, civil wars, and increasing xenophobia, to Libya and Mauritania because of their booming oil industries and to developed countries (most notably former colonial ruler France, as well as Italy and Spain). The latter became attractive in the 1990s because of job opportunities and their periodic regularization programs (legalizing the status of illegal migrants).

Additionally, about 16,000 Senegalese refugees still remain in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau as a result of more than 30 years of fighting between government forces and rebel separatists in southern Senegal’s Casamance region.

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.38% (male 3,194,454/female 3,160,111)

15-24 years: 20.35% (male 1,596,896/female 1,606,084)

25-54 years: 31.95% (male 2,327,424/female 2,700,698)

55-64 years: 4.21% (male 283,480/female 378,932)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 212,332/female 275,957) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 84.2

youth dependency ratio: 78.4

elderly dependency ratio: 5.7

potential support ratio: 17.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.4 years

male: 18.5 years

female: 20.3 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 203

Population growth rate

2.25% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

Birth rate

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

country comparison to the world: 28

Death rate

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

country comparison to the world: 100

Net migration rate

-1.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Population distribution

the population is concentrated in the west, with Dakar anchoring a well-defined core area; approximately 70% of the population is rural as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 48.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.59% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

3.230 million DAKAR (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.9 years (2018 est.)

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

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 35

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.72 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 54.66 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 40.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 63.83 years

male: 61.59 years

female: 66.14 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 205

Total fertility rate

3.97 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Contraceptive prevalence rate

26.9% (2019)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 92.3% of population

rural: 74.5% of population

total: 83.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.7% of population

rural: 25.5% of population

total: 16.7% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

4% (2018)

Physicians density

0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

0.3 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 91.2% of population

rural: 48.5% of population

total: 68.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.8% of population

rural: 51.5% of population

total: 31.6% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.3% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

39,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,100 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

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

8.8% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 146

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

14.4% (2019)

country comparison to the world: 39

Education expenditures

4.8% of GDP (2018)

country comparison to the world: 67


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 51.9%

male: 64.8%

female: 39.8% (2017)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 8 years

female: 9 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 4.8%

male: 5%

female: 4.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

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