Population of Senegal in 2023: more than 18 million, including 35.8% young people

Population of Senegal in 2023: more than 18 million, including 35.8% young people
Population of Senegal in 2023: more than 18 million, including 35.8% young people

Young people take the lion’s share of the results of the General Census of the Housing Population (Rgph-5,2023) published yesterday, Tuesday, July 9, 2024 by the National Agency for Statistics and Demography. Economic activity reveals a predominance of the informal sector, with a majority of self-employed workers and a low proportion of vocational training. In terms of density, the regions of Dakar (100%), Diourbel (66.9%), Thiès (57.5%) and Ziguinchor (54.9) display the highest urbanization rates nationally.

99% funded by the State of Senegal, and entirely digital, the 5th General census of the population and housing 2023 (Rgph-5), shared yesterday, Tuesday July 9 in Dakar, counts it (the population) at more than 18 million. After the publication of the preliminary results of said census at the end of 2023, the National Agency for Statistics and Demography (ANSD) released its provisional report yesterday, Tuesday July 9, in Dakar. And it emerges from said report that the Senegalese population stands at “18,126,390 inhabitants in 2023”.

The said report informs that the population of Senegal is constantly increasing in view of the numbers which continue to increase from one census to another. Indeed, the analysis of trends in reference to data from previous censuses shows that “4,997,885 inhabitants in 1976, the population of Senegal increased to 6,881,919 inhabitants in 1988, then to 9,858,482 in 2002.”

In 2013, the report states “the population was estimated at 13,508,715 inhabitants, before settling at 18,126,390 inhabitants in 2023.”

In other words, from 1976 to 2023, or nearly 50 years, the population of Senegal almost quadrupled, going from 4,997,885 to 18,126,390 inhabitants, or an annual growth rate of 2.7%.

The ANSD concludes that the increase in the size of this population over the period 2013-2023 corresponds to an intercensal demographic growth rate of 2.9%. The rate of demographic growth has been maintained over this period compared to that of 2002-2013. However, a slight decrease in the rate is observed between the periods 1976-1988 and 1988-2002, with a value of the intercensal demographic growth rate which goes from 2.7% to 2.5%.

Furthermore, this slight decline is followed by a significant increase between the periods 1988-2002 and 2002-2013, with a rate ranging from 2.5% to 2.9% respectively.

Male predominance

The results also indicate that the intercensal growth rate of the male population is “3.1% compared to 2.8% for women, i.e. a gap of 0.3 points between the sexes in favor of men for the year 2023.”

In short, the sex ratio is 102.6 men for 100 women in 2023. This situation reflects a predominance of men over women. The value of this indicator, which is at this level for the first time, denotes a change in the sex structure of the population.

Indeed, since 1988, changes have been observed in the sex structure of the population. After the decline noted between 1976 (98 men for 100 women) and 1988 (94.6 men for 100 women), the sex ratio has been on an upward trend, rising from 94.6% (1988) to 102.6% (in 2023).

Young people clearly superior

The results of the Rgph-5 highlight the youth of the Senegalese population in terms of age structure. Indeed, most of the largest population numbers are under 40 years old. Children under 15 years old represent 39.1% and young people aged 15-34 years old, 35.8%, among the total population. The analysis of the sex ratio shows the numerical superiority of men compared to women among those under 20 years old (sex ratio greater than 100). On the other hand, the situation is reversed for the age groups 20-39 years old, 50-64 years old and 70 years old and over, where there are more women than men.

Fertility is constantly increasing

The age pyramid summarizes the age and sex structure of the population. Its shape, influenced by the importance of demographic phenomena, shows a population with a still high fertility rate, despite a significant decline observed in recent years. Added to this is a significant decrease in the mortality rate. Its sagging male side indicates an emigration that concerns more working-age men than women.

To be convinced, the number of children under 5 years old counted in 2023 amounts to 2,243,737, or 12.4% of the country’s entire population. Analysis by gender shows that among those under 5, there are slightly more boys (1,162,066) than girls (1,081,671), or 12.7% versus 12.1% respectively.

The rural world is more fertile…

Furthermore, the number of children under 5 years of age is higher in rural areas (1,149,029), with 14.0% compared to 11.0% for urban areas (1,094,708). At the regional level, the regions of Dakar (408,148), Thiès (291,421) and Diourbel (268,063) stand out for the highest numbers of children under 5 years of age.

However, the highest proportions of children under 5 years of age are observed in the regions of Kédougou (14.6%), Tambacounda (14.3%) and Kolda (14.3%), while the lowest are recorded in the regions of Dakar (10.2%), Ziguinchor (11.4%), Thiès (11.8%) and Saint-Louis (11.9%). A similar situation emerges from the analysis of the 5-14 age group. Indeed, for this age group, the numbers are higher among boys (2,563,249), in rural areas (2,502,841) and in the regions of Dakar (788,295), Thiès (633,954) and Diourbel (606,113). However, the highest proportions are noted in the regions of Sédhiou (32.1%), Kaffrine (31.4%), Kolda (30.7%), Tambacounda (30.3%) and Matam (30.1%). On the other hand, the lowest proportions are observed in the regions of Dakar (19.7%), Ziguinchor (25.5%), Thiès (25.7%) and Saint-Louis (27.1%).

Spatial distribution of the population

The resident population in Senegal is unevenly distributed across the national territory with significant regional disparities. Indeed, the most populated regions are Dakar (22.1%), Thiès (13.6%) and Diourbel (11.5%). On the other hand, the least populated regions are Kédougou (1.4%), Sédhiou (3.3%) and Ziguinchor (3.3%).

Overall, regardless of the region, there are more men than women, except for the Diourbel region where there are more women than men. This is evidenced by the sex ratio which stands at 98.0 men for 100 women.

Population density

In 2023, the population density is 92 inhabitants per square kilometer. Indeed, the populations are concentrated in the western and central regions of the country. In contrast, the regions located in the north and east of the territory are sparsely populated.

Thus, the Dakar region stands out from the others with a density of 7,478 inhabitants per km²; a population estimated at 4,004,426 inhabitants, or nearly a quarter of the total population (22.1%) on an area representing only 0.3% of that of the country. On the other hand, the Tambacounda region, the largest in the country (21.7% of the country’s area), has only 5.4% of the population, or a density of 23 inhabitants per km².

Furthermore, the regions of Diourbel (428 inhabitants/km2), Thiès (374 inhabitants/km2), Kaolack (252 inhabitants/km2) and Fatick (129 inhabitants/km2) each have a density of more than 100 inhabitants per km2.

Distribution of urban population by region

In Senegal, the urban population is predominantly male (50.5% versus 49.5%). As at the national level, this situation is observed in all regions, with the exception of the regions of Fatick (49.5%), Kaffrine (49.3%) and Diourbel (49.0%) where the sex ratios are less than 100. The Louga region is characterized by an almost equal distribution between male and female urban populations. In addition, the regions of Matam (53.9%) and Kédougou (53.8%) are those with the urban areas where the proportions of men are the highest.

Urbanization rate by region

In 2023, more than half of the Senegalese population lives in urban areas (54.7%). This situation at the national level is observed in the regions of Dakar (100%), Diourbel (66.9%), Thiès (57.5%) and Ziguinchor (54.9), which display urbanization rates above the national average. Conversely, the Kaffrine region records the lowest urbanization rate (15.3%).

Evolution of the urbanization rate from 1976 to 2023

In Senegal, the urbanization rate has continued to grow over the years. In fact, it rose from 34.0% in 1976 to 39.0% in 1988, then 40.7% in 2002 and 45.2% in 2013. Today, the rate stands at 54.7% and regardless of the region, the same trend can be observed over the years. As for the Dakar region, it has always been highly urbanized (96.3% in 1976, 96.5% in 1988, 97.2% in 2002, 96.4% in 2013) and is now the only fully urbanized region (100.0%). The Diourbel region follows that of Dakar and becomes the second most urbanized region (66.9%). It rose from 21.0% in 1976 to 21.5% in 1988, then from 15.9% in 2002 to 16.1% in 2013.

Main nationalities

Of the 18,126,390 individuals residing in Senegal, 207,791 are of foreign nationality (i.e. 1.1%). The foreign population is composed of 115,734 men (i.e. 57.7%) against 92,057 women (i.e. 44.3%). Several nationalities, mainly made up of nationals from Africa and other continents, are present in Senegal. These are Guineans (40.3%), Malians (14.9%), Bissau-Guineans (4.4%), Gambians (3.0%), Burkinabé (2.7%) and Mauritanians (2.1%), among others. Furthermore, it should be noted that there are Europeans (4.0%, or a total of 8,377 individuals), American nationals representing 1.0%, or a total of 2,036 individuals, and Asians 2.3%, or a total of 4,850 individuals.

Unidentified aliens

It is also worth noting the presence of people who have not declared their nationality and who live in Senegal, which is estimated at 5.1%.

Possession of a birth certificate

Overall, 81.2% of the population have a birth certificate or a supplementary judgment. On the other hand, 5.3% do not have a birth certificate and 13.6% do not know whether they have one or not. Possession of a birth certificate is more common among those under one year old (76.8%). The lowest proportions are observed among those aged 80-84 (49.6%), those aged 90-94 (48.0%) and those aged 95 and over (44.3%).

Literacy level of the population aged 10 or over

Nationally, the literacy rate for residents aged ten and over is 62.9%. That is, 37.1% of residents aged 10 and over cannot read or write in any language.

Inactive population by region and sex

The regional distribution of inactive people shows that the regions of Dakar (25.6%), Thiès (14.0%) and Diourbel (10.9%), in relation to their demographic weight, record the largest numbers, i.e. 50.5% of the total inactive people. On the other hand, the regions of Sédhiou (2.9%) and Kédougou (1.3%), less populated, display the lowest proportions of inactive people. This distribution of inactive people by region is almost similar, regardless of gender.

47.8% of Senegalese are inactive

The inactivity rate is 47.8%, with a higher proportion among women (57.5%) than among men (37.6%). This aforementioned situation is observed in both urban and rural areas.

The regions of Matam (57.3%), Ziguinchor (53.6%), Saint-Louis (52.8%) and Fatick (52.2%) have the highest inactivity rates, with more than half of working-age people inactive. The lowest inactivity levels are recorded in the regions of Dakar (44.4%), Kédougou (44.3%), Tambacounda (43.1%) and Kaffrine (41.3%), with rates lower than the national average (47.8%).




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