Demographics of Burkina Faso

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

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

Burkina Faso's 15,3 million people belong to two major West African cultural groups—the Gur (Voltaic) and the Mandé. The Voltaic are far more numerous and include the Mossi, who make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi are still bound by the traditions of the Mogho Naba, who hold court in Ouagadougou.

About 12,000 Europeans reside in Burkina Faso, the majority are French.

Most of Burkina's people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, sometimes exceeding 48 per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). This population density, high for Africa, causes annual migrations of hundreds of thousands of Burkinabé to Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana for seasonal agricultural work. About a third of Burkinabé adhere to traditional African religions. The introduction of Islam to Burkina Faso was initially resisted by the Mossi rulers. Christians, predominantly Roman Catholics, are largely concentrated among the urban elite.

Few Burkinabé have had formal education. Schooling is free but not compulsory, and only about 29% of Burkina's primary school-age children receive a basic education. The University of Ouagadougou, founded in 1974, was the country's first institution of higher education. The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Bobo-Dioulasso was opened in 1995.

Peanuts seller in Ouagadougou
Bobo men in Bobo-Dioulasso


CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.


15,746,232 (July 2009 est.)
Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure

0-14 years: 46.8% (male 3,267,202/female 3,235,190)
15-64 years: 50.7% (male 3,513,559/female 3,538,623)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 140,083/female 208,315) (2006 est.)

Median age

Total: 16.8 years
Male: 16.6 years
Female: 17 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

3.103% (2009 est.)

Birth rate

44.33 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Death rate

13.3 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 91.35 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 99yhths/1,000 live births
Female: 83.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
A girl from Burkina Faso

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 52.95 years
Male: 51.04 years
Female: 54.91 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.14 children born/woman (2011 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: 1.6% (2007 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 130,000 (2007 est.)
Deaths: 9,200 (2007 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria and yellow fever
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
Animal contact diseases: rabies (2009)


Noun: Burkinabé (singular and plural)
Adjective: Burkinabé

Ethnic groups

Mossi - over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Fulani, Mandé, European


Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 30%, Indigenous beliefs 20%


French (official), native African languages (spoken by 90% of the population) including: More, Dioula, Gurma, Senufo


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 21.8%
Male: 29.4%
Female: 15.2% (2003 est.)

Education expenditure

4.2% of GDP (2006)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2009 edition".

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