Demographics of Cameroon

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A Tikar family in the Northwest Province

The demographic profile of Cameroon is complex for a country of its population. Cameroon comprises an estimated 250 distinct ethnic groups, which may be formed into five large regional-cultural divisions:

  • western highlanders (Semi-Bantu or grassfielders), including the Bamileke, Bamum (or Bamoun), and many smaller Tikar groups in the Northwest (est. 38% of total population);
  • coastal tropical forest peoples, including the Bassa, Duala (or Douala), and many smaller groups in the Southwest (12%);
  • southern tropical forest peoples, including the Beti-Pahuin, Bulu (a subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Fang (subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Maka, Njem, and Baka pygmies (18%);
  • predominantly Islamic peoples of the northern semi-arid regions (the Sahel) and central highlands, including the Fulani (French: Peul or Peuhl; Fula: Fulɓe) (14%); and
  • the "Kirdi", non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples of the northern desert and central highlands (18%).

An up-to-date demographic profile is unavailable from the country's government, which hasn't published census data since 1976.

The Cameroon government held two national censuses during the country's first 44 years as an independent country, in 1976 and again in 1987. Results from the second head count were never published. A third census, expected to take years to produce results, began on November 11, 2005, with a three-week interviewing phase. It is one of a series of projects and reforms required by the International Monetary Fund as prerequisites for foreign debt relief.

Population[edit]

According to the 2010 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 19 599 000 in 2010, compared to only 4 466 000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 40.6%, 55.9% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 3.5% was 65 years or older .[1]

Total population (x 1000) Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 4 466 39.6 56.9 3.5
1955 4 901 40.1 56.4 3.5
1960 5 409 40.6 55.9 3.6
1965 6 049 41.5 54.9 3.6
1970 6 842 42.4 54.0 3.6
1975 7 838 43.6 52.7 3.7
1980 9 110 44.6 51.8 3.6
1985 10 519 45.2 51.2 3.6
1990 12 181 45.2 51.3 3.6
1995 13 940 44.4 52.1 3.5
2000 15 678 42.8 53.7 3.5
2005 17 554 41.6 54.9 3.5
2010 19 599 40.6 55.9 3.5

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Cameroon not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [1]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR* CDR* NC* TFR* IMR*
1950-1955 203 000 117 000 86 000 43.4 24.9 18.5 5.68 169
1955-1960 222 000 120 000 102 000 43.0 23.3 19.7 5.68 158
1960-1965 252 000 124 000 128 000 44.0 21.6 22.3 5.90 145
1965-1970 287 000 130 000 157 000 44.6 20.1 24.5 6.10 133
1970-1975 332 000 136 000 196 000 45.2 18.3 26.8 6.30 120
1975-1980 382 000 143 000 239 000 45.1 16.5 28.6 6.40 108
1980-1985 439 000 143 000 296 000 44.7 15.0 29.7 6.40 98
1985-1990 487 000 148 000 339 000 42.9 14.1 28.9 6.10 93
1990-1995 536 000 172 000 364 000 41.0 14.0 27.0 5.70 94
1995-2000 563 000 204 000 359 000 38.0 14.6 23.5 5.10 96
2000-2005 632 000 243 000 389 000 38.0 15.3 22.7 4.92 97
2005-2010 691 000 270 000 421 000 37.2 15.0 22.2 4.67 94
* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)

Fertility and Births[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[2]


Year CBR (Total) TFR (Total) CBR (Urban) TFR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Rural)
1991 39 5,82 5,17 6,29
1998 37,4 5,2 31,5 3,9 40,1 5,8
2004 37,8 5,0 34,9 4,0 40,5 6,1
2011 38,1 5,1 34,6 4,0 41,3 6,4

Ethnic groups[edit]

Speakers of Makaa–Njem languages in Cameroon and neighbouring countries.
The ethnic groups of Cameroon who speak Duala languages.
  • Cameroon Highlanders 31%
  • Equatorial Bantu 19%
  • Kirdi 11%
  • Fulani 10%
  • Northwestern Bantu 8%
  • Eastern Nigritic 7%
  • other African 13%
  • non-African less than 1%

Languages[edit]

Linguistic survey of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin
Main article: Languages of Cameroon

There are 24 major African language groups in Cameroon; additionally, English and French are official languages. Cameroonian Pidgin English is also widely spoken.

Peoples concentrated in the Southwest and Northwest Provinces — around Buea and Bamenda — use standard English and Cameroonian Pidgin English, as well as their local languages. In the three northern provinces — Adamawa, North, and Far North — either French or Fulfulde (the language of the Fulani) is widely spoken. Elsewhere, French is the principal second language, although pidgin and some local languages such as Ewondo, the dialect of a Beti clan from the Yaoundé area, have a wide currency.

Indigenous languages of Cameroon include:

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

Estimated number of inhabitants (in thousands), based on 2005 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Population[edit]

20000005000937(2010 est.)
Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)

Median age[edit]

total: 19.3 years
male: 19.2 years
female: 19.4 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

3.129% (2013 est.)

Urbanization[edit]

Urban population: 58% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.3% annual rate of change (2010–15 est.)

Sex ratio[edit]

At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

total population: 54.04 years
male: 53.21 years
female: 54.9 years (2010 est.)

Total Fertility Rate[edit]

According to Cameroon government website, average children per woman was 5.0 in 2004.[3]

HIV/AIDS[edit]

Adult prevalence rate: 5.1% (2007 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 540,000 (2007 est.)
Deaths: 39,000 (2007 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 370,000 (2010 est.)

Major infectious diseases[edit]

Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and hepatitis E, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Nationality[edit]

Noun: Cameroonian(s)
Adjective: Cameroonian

Religions[edit]

Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

Literacy[edit]

Definition: age 15 and under can marginally read and write
Total population: 67.9% (2004 est.; source: UNDP 2006; NB- this figure is given without reference to which languages are considered)
Male: 77.0%
Female: 59.45

Education expenditure[edit]

3.3% of GDP (2006)

References[edit]