The Comoros have had 21 coups and coup attempts since becoming an independent nation in 1974 and is one of the world’s poorest countries. The name is of Arabic origin and means ‘the small lunar islands’.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Moroni
- Ethnic groups: Antalote, cafre, makoa, oimatsaha, sakalava
- Language: Arabic and French (official), shikomoro (official language, mix of Swahili and Arabic)
- Religion: Sunni Muslims 98%, others (Catholics, Shiites, other Christians) 2%
- Population: 821 164
- Control Form: Federal Republic
- Area: 1 861 km2
- Currency: Franc at 100 centimes
- GNP per capita: 1 522 PPP $
- National Day: July 6th
The Comoros population was estimated at 735,000 in 2013 (World Bank) and annual population growth to 2.4%. Life expectancy at birth is 62.1 for women and 59.3 for men. The birth rate is high but declining (35.9 percent in 2013 against (46.1 percent in 1980). 42.1% of the population is under 15 years and only 2.8% 65 years or older).
The population is for the most part descendants of immigrant Africans, Arabs, Malays and Madagascans. Njazídja has over half of the population of the Comoros (295,650 in 2004), followed by Nzwani (259,100 bids) and Mwali (35,400 bids). The largest city is the capital Moroni on Njazídja (40 300 b.c.).
The population is mainly Sunni Muslims (over 90%), the remaining belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.
Arabic and French are official languages. A large part of the population speaks a bantu language related to Swahili (Comorian).