Demographics of São Tomé and Príncipe

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of São Tomé and Príncipe, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Of São Tomé and Príncipe's total population, about 131,000 live on São Tomé and 6,000 on Príncipe. All are descended from various ethnic groups that have migrated to the islands since 1485. Six groups are identifiable:

  • Mestiços, or mixed-blood, descendants of Portuguese colonists and African slaves brought to the islands during the early years of settlement from Benin, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola (these people also are known as filhos da terra or "children of the land");
  • Angolares, reputedly descendants of Angolan slaves who survived a 1540 shipwreck and now earn their livelihood fishing;
  • Forros, descendants of freed slaves when slavery was abolished;
  • Serviçais, contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde, living temporarily on the islands;
  • Tongas, children of servicais born on the islands; and
  • Europeans, primarily Portuguese.
  • Asians, mostly Chinese minority, including Macanese people of mixed Portuguese and Chinese blood from Macau.

Although a small country, São Tomé and Príncipe has four national languages: Portuguese (the official language, spoken by 95% of the population), and the Portuguese-based creoles Forro (85%), Angolar (3%) and Principense (0.1%). French is also learned in schools, as the country is a member of Francophonie.

In the 1970s, there were two significant population movements—the exodus of most of the 4,000 Portuguese residents and the influx of several hundred São Toméan refugees from Angola. The islanders have been absorbed largely into a common Luso-African culture. Almost all belong to the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, or Seventh-day Adventist churches, which in turn retain close ties with churches in Portugal. There is a small but growing Muslim population.

Population[edit]

Demographics of São Tomé and Príncipe, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

According to the 2010 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 165,000 in 2010, compared to only 60,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 40.3%, 55.8% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 3.9% was 65 years or older .[1]

Total population Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 60,000 32.9 63.1 4.0
1955 59,000 32.9 63.1 4.0
1960 64,000 32.9 63.2 4.0
1965 65,000 41.1 56.3 2.6
1970 74,000 46.7 48.4 4.9
1975 82,000 47.0 49.1 3.9
1980 95,000 46.6 48.6 4.8
1985 104,000 46.6 48.8 4.7
1990 116,000 46.6 49.0 4.4
1995 128,000 44.8 50.8 4.4
2000 141,000 42.6 53.1 4.3
2005 153,000 41.6 54.0 4.4
2010 165,000 40.3 55.8 3.9

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in São Tomé & Príncipe not available for recent years. 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 3 000 1 000 2 000 47.7 21.0 26.7 6.20 124
1955-1960 3 000 1 000 2 000 47.7 18.5 29.2 6.20 112
1960-1965 3 000 1 000 2 000 47.0 16.8 30.1 6.30 99
1965-1970 3 000 1 000 2 000 42.7 13.1 29.6 6.40 88
1970-1975 3 000 1 000 2 000 40.7 13.2 27.6 6.52 80
1975-1980 4 000 1 000 3 000 41.1 11.0 30.1 6.50 70
1980-1985 4 000 1 000 3 000 40.4 11.5 28.9 6.24 66
1985-1990 4 000 1 000 3 000 38.8 10.7 28.1 5.66 63
1990-1995 5 000 1 000 3 000 37.0 9.8 27.1 5.16 61
1995-2000 5 000 1 000 4 000 35.9 9.2 26.7 4.80 58
2000-2005 5 000 1 000 4 000 34.8 8.8 26.0 4.34 55
2005-2010 5 000 1 000 4 000 32.4 8.2 24.2 3.85 52
* 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)

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

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

Sex ratio[edit]


at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]


total population: 65.25 years
male: 63.84 years
female: 66.7 years (2000 est.)

Nationality[edit]


noun: São Toméan(s)
adjective: São Toméan

Ethnic groups[edit]

Mestiços, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), serviçais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (children of serviçais born on the islands) and Europeans (primarily Portuguese)

Religions[edit]

Christian 97% (Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist), Muslim 2%, other 1%[2]

Languages[edit]

Portuguese (official)

Literacy[edit]


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73%
male: 85%
female: 62% (1991 est.)

References[edit]