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Benin: Benin People Profile


Dance of warrior women,Abomey


Benin, officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, is a West African country bordered by Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Togo. Despite its small size, Benin has an estimated 2014 population of 10.6 million. This makes it the 85th most populous country in the world.

Benin Population

The total population in Benin was last recorded at 10.1 million people in 2012 from 2.4 million in 1960, changing 315 percent during the last 50 years. Population in Benin averaged 5.07 Million from 1960 until 2012, reaching an all time high of 10.05 Million in 2012 and a record low of 2.42 Million in 1960. Population in Benin is reported by the World Bank.

Most of Benin's population lives on the southern coastline on the Bight of Benin, which is part of the Gulf of Guinea. The capital is Porto-Novo with a population of 265,000 but the largest city is Cotonou with a population of 685,000. Benin is a relatively small country -- the 101st largest in the world -- with a population density of 78 people per square kilometer, or 120th in the world.

Benin Demographics

Benin has a young population with a life expectancy of just 59 years. There are 42 different African ethnic groups, the ancestors of a number of groups who have settled in the area over centuries and migrated to the country. Major ethnic groups include the Yoruba in the southeast (who migrated from Nigeria), the Dendi in the north-central region (who originated from Mali), the Bariba and Fula in the northeast, the Betammaribe and Somba, the Fon near Abomey, and the Aja, Xueda, and Mina.

A wave of recent migration has brought many other African nationals to the country, including Togolese and Ingerians. There is also a group of Indians and Lebenese in the region for commerce and trade. There is a European population of about 5,500, most of which include personnel of embassies, foreign aid missions, and missionary groups.

Benin has one of the world's highest death rates for children under five with little access to healthcare. Benin also has one of the world's lowest literacy rates at about 43%.

Benin Population Growth

Benin is rapidly growing with a population growth rate of nearly 3%. From 2011 to 2012, the country added 271,000 people, and its population has grown from 10.05 million in 2012 to an estimated population today of 10.6 million. This trend is expected to continue in the near future.

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