The Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland. The country has few natural resources and struggles with widespread poverty. In 2017, Gambia had its first democratic power shift since independence in 1965.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Banjul
- Ethnic groups: Mandinka/jahanka 34%, fulani/tukulur/lorobo 22.4%, wolof 12.6%, jola/karoninka 10.7%, serahuleh 6.6%, serer 3.2%, manjago 2.1%, bambara 1 %, Creole/Acu marabout 0.7%, Other/Unknown 1.5%, Non Gambians 5.2%, (2013)
- Language: English (official), mandinka, wolof, fula, other tribal languages
- Religion: Muslims 95.7%, Christians 4.2%, none/unknown 0.2% (2013)
- Population: 2 163 765
- Control Form: Republic
- Area: 11 300 Km2
- Currency: Dalasi
- GNP per capita: 1 677 PPP $
- National Day: February 18th
The Gambia had 2,174,000 residents in 2020. Population development is characterized by both high birth and death rates, but after 2000 both have declined and life expectancy has increased.
45 percent of the population was under 15 in 2004, while by 2020 the figure had dropped to 36 percent. The annual population growth in the period 1991–2001 was estimated at 3.6 percent on average. In 2020, population growth was reduced to 1.87 percent. In 1993, infant mortality was estimated at around 120 per 1,000 live births, in 2003 75 per 1,000 live births, while in 2020 the figure was 55 per 1,000 live births. The average life expectancy was 56.9 years for women and 52.8 years for men in 2003, while it had risen to 68 years for women and 63 years for men in 2020.
The population is divided into several ethnic groups. The largest are mandingo (34 percent); fulani (22 percent), wolof (12.6 percent); diola (10.7 percent) and sarahuli or soninké (6.6 percent). The Fulanis have long traditions as cattle farmers, and a significant part of this group sticks to this way of life. Especially wolof and sarahuli have taken up trade in the cities, although the majority are still farmers. Diola has its traditional livelihood as farmers in the coastal areas.
62 percent of the population lives in cities (2020); largest cities are the capital Banjul and Serekunda.
Over 95 percent are Muslims (Sunni), 4 percent are Christians (both Catholics and Protestants), the rest are followers of local religions or Bahai.
The official language is English. 42 percent of the population speak mandingo (mandinka). Fulani and wolof are also widespread.