Demographics of Liberia
|Republic of Liberia|
As of 2006, Liberia has the highest population growth rate in the world (4.50% per annum). 43.5% of Liberians were below the age of 15 in 2010. With recent civil wars being fought along ethnic lines, Liberia is a multiethnic and multicultural country.
|Total population||Population aged 0–14 (%)||Population aged 15–64 (%)||Population aged 65+ (%)|
|1960||1 116 000||41.4||55.9||2.7|
|1965||1 262 000||43.0||54.3||2.6|
|1970||1 440 000||44.1||53.3||2.6|
|1975||1 658 000||44.8||52.6||2.6|
|1980||1 923 000||45.5||51.9||2.6|
|1985||2 212 000||45.9||51.5||2.6|
|1990||2 127 000||45.6||52.8||2.6|
|1995||2 095 000||44.5||52.8||2.6|
|2000||2 847 000||43.6||53.8||2.6|
|2005||3 183 000||43.3||54.0||2.7|
|2010||3 994 000||43.5||53.7||2.8|
Registration of vital events is in Liberia not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. 
|Period||Live births per year||Deaths per year||Natural change per year||CBR*||CDR*||NC*||TFR*||IMR*|
|1950-1955||45 000||27 000||17 000||46.7||28.8||18.0||6.27||224|
|1955-1960||51 000||29 000||22 000||48.1||27.1||21.0||6.35||208|
|1960-1965||58 000||30 000||28 000||48.6||25.4||23.2||6.47||194|
|1965-1970||65 000||32 000||33 000||48.4||23.6||24.7||6.59||181|
|1970-1975||76 000||34 000||41 000||48.9||22.1||26.8||6.80||169|
|1975-1980||88 000||37 000||51 000||49.0||20.8||28.2||6.93||158|
|1980-1985||101 000||43 000||58 000||48.8||20.8||28.0||6.96||159|
|1985-1990||102 000||46 000||57 000||47.2||21.1||26.1||6.72||164|
|1990-1995||95 000||45 000||50 000||45.0||21.2||23.8||6.30||168|
|1995-2000||109 000||49 000||60 000||44.0||19.8||24.2||6.01||155|
|2000-2005||128 000||46 000||82 000||42.4||15.4||27.1||5.69||116|
|2005-2010||145 000||43 000||102 000||40.5||12.0||28.5||5.42||89|
|* 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
|Year||CBR (Total)||TFR (Total)||CBR (Urban)||TFR (Urban)||CBR (Rural)||TFR (Rural)|
|2007||37.6||5.2 (4.6)||32.5||3.8 (3.3)||40.4||6.2 (5.6)|
|2013||34.4||4.7 (4.0)||31.1||3.8 (3.3)||38.5||6.1 (5.1)|
|2019-20||30.1||4.2 (3.7)||27.5||3.4 (3.1)||33.6||5.5 (4.8)|
Fertility data as of 2013 (DHS Program):
|Region||Total fertility rate||Percentage of women age 15-49 currently pregnant||Mean number of children ever born to women age 40-49|
|South Eastern A||6.5||9.6||6.7|
|South Eastern B||5.9||9.2||7.1|
|Period||Life expectancy in |
Ethnic communities of Liberia
The indigenous ethnic groups of Liberia can be linguistically divided into three groups who speak;
- The isolate Gola language and the
- Mel languages (particularly Kissi) in the east and
- Kru languages (particularly Bassa) in the west
to which must be added the immigrant communities;
- Mande-Fu (Kpelle, Gio, Mano, Loma)
- Mande-Tan (Vai, Mende, Mandingo)
- Repatriated (Americo-Liberians, Congo, Caribbean)
The Gola ethnic group originated somewhere in central Africa. During the Empire of Ancient Ghana they were involved in the land-surveying and jurisprudence of the empire.
The other ethnic groups that fall under the Mande-Tan, Mande-Fu were also members of Ancient Ghana. Because of their influence in the judicial aspects of the Ghana, the Gola's social structure dominated through the Poro.
With the influx of Islam many groups adopted it while others resisted. The Golas fought three wars with pro-Islamic elements in a changing Ghana. These wars were known as the Kumba Wars. The Golas lost the third of these wars and were forced to retreat toward Sierra Leone. They were pursued by the Mende, Gbandi and Loma. Their battles with the Mende in Sierra Leone forced them to retreat yet again and settle finally in Liberia where they encountered the Dei.
Immigrants from Mali
The Kpelle, Gio, Mano, Mandingo and Vai groups migrated from the Empire of Mali for various reasons, some escaping political intrigue, others looking for a better life. The Vais, settled in Grand Cape Mount county in the west of Liberia, were the first to invent a form of writing in 1833 or 1834. The reported inventor was Dwalu Bukele of Bandakor along the Robertsport (provincial capital) highway.
Immigrants from Côte d'Ivoire
In the 16th century; Kru (Tajuasohn), Bassa, Belleh, Krahn, Grebo.
- Americo-Liberians: Free black people and emancipated slaves, and their descendants, from the U.S. and the Caribbean
- Congos is an eponymic term for "recaptives," people rescued from slave ships after the slave trade, not slavery itself, was abolished by Great Britain and the United States. These people were "repatriated" to Liberia (and Sierra Leone if rescued by the British) and their descendants. The term was used because many of these rescued Africans were thought to be from the Congo River Basin.
Immigrants from Lebanon
In the late 19th century to early 20th century Lebanese merchants, families and businessmen began arriving in Liberia. Lebanese currently own many major businesses such as supermarkets, restaurants, textiles, construction works, factories and other production based companies across the country. Despite living in the country, Lebanese are denied citizenship rights due to Liberia's nationality law and are seen in a political view as foreigners.
According to the 2008 National Census, 85.5% of Liberia's population practices Christianity. Muslims comprise 12.2% of the population, largely coming from the Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups. The vast majority of Muslims are Malikite Sunni, with sizeable Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities. Traditional indigenous religions are practiced by 0.5% of the population, while 1.8% subscribe to no religion.
Other demographic statistics
Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in 2019.
- One birth every 3 minutes
- One death every 15 minutes
- One net migrant every 103 minutes
- Net gain of one person every 4 minutes
- 4,809,768 (July 2018 est.)
- 0-14 years: 43.72% (male 1,062,766 /female 1,040,211)
- 15-24 years: 19.9% (male 478,041 /female 478,999)
- 25-54 years: 30.1% (male 711,963 /female 735,878)
- 55-64 years: 3.43% (male 84,474 /female 80,410)
- 65 years and over: 2.85% (male 67,229 /female 69,797) (2018 est.)
- total: 17.8 years. Country comparison to the world: 217th
- male: 17.6 years
- female: 18.1 years (2018 est.)
- 37.9 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 10th
- 7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 116th
- 5 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 13th
Population growth rate
- 2.59% (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 19th
Mother's mean age at first birth
- 19.2 years (2013 est.)
- note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Contraceptive prevalence rate
- 31% (2016)
Net migration rate
- -4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 192nd
Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)
- total dependency ratio: 83.2 (2015 est.)
- youth dependency ratio: 77.6 (2015 est.)
- elderly dependency ratio: 5.5 (2015 est.)
- potential support ratio: 18.1 (2015 est.)
- urban population: 51.2% of total population (2018)
- rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population:1 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
- total population: 63.8 years (2018 est.)
- male: 61.6 years (2018 est.)
- female: 66 years (2018 est.)
- total population: 57 years (2011 est.)
- male: 55.44 years
- female: 58.6 years
There are officially 17 ethnic groups that make up Liberia's indigenous African population, making up maybe 95% of the total: Kpelle, the largest group; Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mandingo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Sapo, Belleh (Kuwaa), Mende and Dey.
There are also more or less nomadic groups like the Fula, who engage mostly in trade, and the Fanti, who are often fishermen or traders of fish, usually from Ghana, living seasonally and more and more often permanently in Liberia.
Then there are Americo-Liberians, who are descendants of free-born and formerly enslaved African Americans who arrived in Liberia from 1822 onward and Congo People (descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean), making up an estimated 5% of the population. They used to dominate political life in Liberia and still have a lot of influence.
There are about 5,000 people of European descent, many of them having settled down as miners, missionaries, business people, and so on. There also is a sizeable number of Lebanese, Indians, and other people with Asian roots who make up a significant part of Liberia's business community. Because of the civil war and its accompanying problem of insecurity, the number of non-Africans in Liberia is low and confined largely to Monrovia and its immediate surroundings. The Liberian constitution restricts citizenship to people of African descent.
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence.
definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
- total population: 47.6% (2015 est.)
- male: 62.4% (2015 est.)
- female: 32.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
- total: 2.3% (2016 est.)
- male: 2.4% (2016 est.)
- female: 2.2% (2016 est.)
- "United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision : Table A.8" (PDF). Un.org. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision Archived May 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Data of FAO, year 2005
- ""World Population prospects – Population division"". population.un.org. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- ""Overall total population" – World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision" (xslx). population.un.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Liberia Demographic and Health Survey 2013" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Demographic and Health Survey 2007" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Demographic and Health Survey 2013" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". esa.un.org. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- Clegg 2004
- Ciment 2013
- Sundiata 2003
- "Africa :: LIBERIA". CIA The World Factbook.
- "International Religious Freedom Report 2010: Liberia". United States Department of State. November 17, 2010. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity" (PDF). Pew Forum on Religious & Public life. August 9, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 24, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- "Liberia Population 2019", World Population Review
- "The World FactBook - Liberia", The World Factbook, July 12, 2018 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "2008 POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS" (PDF). Lisgis.net. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- Ciment, J. (2013) Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It. New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 978-0-8090-9542-1
- Clegg, C. (2004). The Price of Liberty: African Americans and the Making of Liberia. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-2845-8
- Sundiata, I. (2003) Brothers and Strangers: Black Zion, Black Slavery, 1914-1940. Durham: Duke University Press ISBN 0-8223-3233-7
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