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Demographics of Mali: Wikis


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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Mali, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

A Bozo girl in Bamako


Population structure

Demographics of Mali, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

In July 2007, Mali's population was an estimated 12.0 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.7%.[1] The population is predominantly rural (68% in 2002), and 5–10% of Malians are nomadic.[2] More than 90% of the population lives in the southern part of the country, especially in Bamako, which has over 1 million residents.[2]

In 2007, about 48% of Malians were less than 15 years old, 49% were 15–64 years old, and 3% were 65 and older.[1] The median age was 15.9 years.[1] The birth rate in 2007 was 49.6 births per 1,000, and the total fertility rate was 7.4 children per woman.[1] The death rate in 2007 was 16.5 deaths per 1,000.[1] Life expectancy at birth was 49.5 years total (47.6 for males and 51.5 for females).[1] Mali has one of the world's highest rates of infant mortality,[2] with 106 deaths per 1,000 live births.[1]

Immigration and emigration

Mali had an estimated net migration rate of –6.6 migrants per 1,000 people in 2006.[3] About 3 million Malians are believed to reside in Côte d’Ivoire and France. Conversely, according to a 2003 estimate, Mali hosts about 11,000 Mauritanians; most are Fulani herders who routinely engage in cross-border migration. In addition, there are several thousand refugees from Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in Bamako and other urban areas of Mali. [2]


Mali's health and development indicators rank among the worst in the world. In 2000 only 62–65 percent of the population was estimated to have access to safe drinking water and only 69 percent to sanitation services of some kind; only 8 percent was estimated to have access to modern sanitation facilities. Only 20 percent of the nation’s villages and livestock watering holes had modern water facilities.[2]

There were an estimated 140,000 cases of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) reported in 2003, and an estimated 1.9 percent of the adult population was afflicted with HIV/AIDS that year, among the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (see also HIV/AIDS in Africa).[2] In the same year, there were 12,000 AIDS deaths. The infant mortality rate is 107.58 deaths/1,000 live births (117.32/1,000 among males and 97.54/1,000 among females) (2006 est.). Life expectancy at birth is 49 years (47.06 years among males and 51.01 years among females) (2006 est.).

Ethnic groups

Mali's population consists of diverse Sub-Saharan ethnic groups, sharing similar historic, cultural, and religious traditions. Exceptions are two nomadic northern groups, the Tuaregs, a Berber people, and Maurs (or Moors), of Arabo-Berber origins. The Tuaregs traditionally have opposed the central government. Starting in June 1990 in the north, Tuaregs seeking greater autonomy led to clashes with the military. In April 1992, the government and most opposing factions signed a pact to end the fighting and restore stability in the north. Its major aims are to allow greater autonomy to the north and increase government resource allocation to what has been a traditionally impoverished region. The peace agreement was celebrated in 1996 in Timbuktu during an official and highly publicized ceremony called "Flamme de la Paix"--(peace flame).

Historically, interethnic relations throughout the rest of the country were facilitated by easy mobility on the Niger River and across the country's vast savannahs. Each ethnic group was traditionally tied to a specific occupation, all working within proximity to each other, although the distinctions were often blurred. The Bambara, Malinké, Sarakole, Dogon and Songhay are farmers; the Fulani, Maur, and Tuareg are herders, while the Bozo are fishers. In recent years, this linkage has shifted considerably, as ethnic groups seek diverse, nontraditional sources of income.

Ethnic groups: Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%


An estimated 90% of Malians are Muslim (mostly Sunni), 9% adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs, and 1% are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant).[1][2] Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis.[2] Islam as practiced in Mali is moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions; relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths are generally amicable.[2] The constitution establishes a secular state and provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right.[2]


Although each ethnic group speaks a separate language, nearly 80% of Malians communicate over ethnic borders in Bambara, which is the common language of the marketplace. French is the country's official language and is spoken somewhat by 30% of Malians.


In the 2000–01 school year, the primary school enrollment rate was 61% (71% of males and 51% of females). The primary school completion rate is also low: only 36 percent of students in 2003 (and lower for females). The majority of students reportedly leave school by age 12. In the late 1990s, the secondary school enrollment rate was 15% percent (20% of males and 10% of females).[2]

According to United States government estimates, the adult literacy rate (defined as those over age 15 who can read and write) was 46.4 percent for the total population in 2003 (53.5 percent for males and 39.6 percent for females). According to United Nations sources, however, the literacy rate is actually much lower—only 27–30 percent overall and as low as 12 percent for females, among the lowest rates in Africa.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h CIA world factbook.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mali country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (January 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ CIA factbook

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