Demographics of Liberia

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The demographics of Liberia are examined on this page, including Liberia's population density, ethnic groups, education level, population health, economic status, religious affiliations and other demographic information.

As of 2006, Liberia has the highest population growth rate in the world (4.50% per annum).[1] 43.5% of Liberians were below the age of 15 in 2010.[2]

With recent civil wars being fought along ethnic lines, Liberia is a multiethnic and multicultural country. Diversity has always been celebrated in Liberian culture - ethnically based civil wars aside - in regard to cuisine, music, fashion, language and people. Despite individuals at power claim that 80% of the population is Christian, most of the population follow traditional African belief system and an other significant portion belong to Islamic faith.

Population[edit]

Liberia's population from 1961-2013.[3] Liberia's population tripled in 40 years.[3]

According to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects[4], Liberia's total population was 4,613,823 in 2016. This is compared to 911,000 in 1950.[2]

43.5% of Liberians were below the age of 15 in 2010.[2] 53.7% were between 15 and 65 years of age, while 2.8% were 65 years or older.[2]

As of 2006, Liberia has the highest population growth rate in the world (4.50% per annum).[1]

Total population Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 911 000 41.0 55.9 3.0
1955 997 000 41.1 56.1 2.8
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

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Liberia not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [2]

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[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (Wanted Fertility Rate) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[5][6]

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)

Fertility data as of 2013 (DHS Program):[7]

Region Total fertility rate Percentage of women age 15-49 currently pregnant Mean number of children ever born to women age 40-49
North Western 5.8 10.3 7.1
South Central 3.8 6.7 5.8
South Eastern A 6.5 9.6 6.7
South Eastern B 5.9 9.2 7.1
North Central 5.6 10.2 6.2

Life expectancy[edit]

Period Life expectancy in
Years[8]
1950–1955 33.13
1955–1960 Increase 34.19
1960–1965 Increase 35.39
1965–1970 Increase 37.92
1970–1975 Increase 40.78
1975–1980 Increase 44.52
1980–1985 Increase 46.97
1985–1990 Increase 47.33
1990–1995 Increase 47.68
1995–2000 Increase 52.59
2000–2005 Decrease 52.39
2005–2010 Increase 58.11
2010–2015 Increase 60.70

Ethnic communities of Liberia[edit]

Indigenous[edit]

The indigenous ethnic groups of Liberia can be linguistically divided into three groups who speak;

to which must be added the immigrant communities;

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[edit]

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[edit]

In the 16th century; Kru (Tajuasohn), Bassa, Belleh, Krahn, Grebo.

19th century[edit]

  • 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.[9][10][11]

Immigrants from Lebanon[edit]

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.

Religion[edit]

Religion in Liberia (2008)[12]

  Christianity (85.6%)
  Islam (12.2%)
  None (1.4%)
  Traditional (0.6%)
  Others (0.2%)

According to the 2008 National Census, 85.5% of Liberia's population practices Christianity.[13] Muslims comprise 12.2% of the population, largely coming from the Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups.[13] The vast majority of Muslims are Malikite Sunni, with sizeable Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities.[14] Traditional indigenous religions are practiced by 0.5% of the population, while 1.8% subscribe to no religion.[13]

Other demographic statistics[edit]

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in 2019.[15]

  • One birth every 3 minutes
  • One death every 15 minutes
  • One net migrant every 103 minutes
  • Net gain of one person every 4 minutes

The following demographic are from the CIA World Factbook[16] unless otherwise indicated.

Population[edit]

4,809,768 (July 2018 est.)

Age structure[edit]

Population pyramid of Liberia in 2017
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.)

Median age[edit]

total: 17.8 years. Country comparison to the world: 217th
male: 17.6 years
female: 18.1 years (2018 est.)

Birth rate[edit]

37.9 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 10th

Death rate[edit]

7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 116th

Total fertility rate[edit]

5 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 13th

Population growth rate[edit]

2.59% (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 19th

Mother's mean age at first birth[edit]

19.2 years (2013 est.)
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Contraceptive prevalence rate[edit]

31% (2016)

Net migration rate[edit]

-5.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 195th

Religions[edit]

Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)

Dependency ratios[edit]

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.)

Urbanization[edit]

urban population: 51.2% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Sex ratio[edit]

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population:1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

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

Ethnic groups[edit]

Ethnic groups in Liberia (2008)[12]
Ethnic groups
Kpelle
20.3%
Other
20.1%
Bassa
13.4%
Grebo
10%
Gio
8%
Mano
7.9%
Kru
6%
Lorma
5.1%
Gola
5.1%
Kissi
4.8%

There are officially 17[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.

Languages[edit]

English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence.

Literacy[edit]

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[edit]

total: 3.3% (2010 est.)
male: 2.5% (2010 est.)
female: 4.1% (2010 est.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision : Table A.8" (PDF). Un.org. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e 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
  3. ^ a b Data of FAO, year 2005
  4. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Liberia Demographic and Health Survey 2013" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Demographic and Health Survey 2007" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Demographic and Health Survey 2013" (PDF). Dhsprogram.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". esa.un.org. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  9. ^ Clegg 2004
  10. ^ Ciment 2013
  11. ^ Sundiata 2003
  12. ^ a b "Africa :: LIBERIA". CIA The World Factbook.
  13. ^ a b c "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.
  14. ^ "The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity" (PDF). Pew Forum on Religious & Public life. August 9, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  15. ^ "Liberia Population 2019", World Population Review
  16. ^ "The World FactBook - Liberia", The World Factbook, July 12, 2018 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  17. ^ "2008 POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS" (PDF). Lisgis.net. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]