People & Culture

Muslim Population
87%
Muslim Population
87%
Muslim Population
87%

 

 Population

 1,641,564 (2006 estimate)

 Population density

 164 persons per sq km

 

 425 persons per sq mi (2006 estimate)

 Urban population distribution

 26 percent (2003 estimate)

 Rural population distribution

 74 percent (2003 estimate)

 Largest cities, with population

 Banjul, 418,000 (2001 estimate)

 

 Serrekunda, 102,600 (1986 estimate)

 

 Brikama, 24,300 (1986 estimate)

 Official language

 English

 Chief religious affiliations

 Muslim, 87 percent

 

 Indigenous beliefs, 8 percent

 

 Christian, 4 percent

 Life expectancy

54.1 years (2006 estimate)

 Infant mortality rate

 72 deaths per 1,000 live births (2006 estimate)

 Literacy rate

 42.4 percent (2005 estimate)

 A variety of ethnic groups live side by side in The Gambia while preserving individual languages and traditions. The main ethnic groups are the Mandinka (also known as Mandingo or Malinke), Fula, and Wolof. The Mandinka, the largest ethnic group, make up more than 40 percent of the country’s inhabitants. The Fula (Fulani), about 18 percent of Gambians, predominate in the eastern part of the country. The Wolof, about 16 percent of the people, live mainly in Banjul and the western region. Smaller groups include the Jola, who live in the western region, and the Serahuli, whose rulers introduced Islam into the region in the 12th century. There is also a small Creole community, the Aku, who are descended from liberated slaves and from European traders who married African women. Most of The Gambia’s people live in rural areas. In 2003, 26 percent of the population lived in urban areas.

 

Population Characteristics

 

The Gambia’s total population in 2003 (latest population census) stood at 1.3 million and the growth rate from 1993 to 2003 is registered at 2.8%. The population of the Gambia is mainly young with more than half (about 63.59%) is below 25 years old. Elderly persons of 65 years and above account for 3.39% of the population.  The urban population in The Gambia stood at 53% of the total population in 2003. Increasing urbanization is causing stress on social services provided in urban areas with consequences of rising urban poverty.