Population of Benin 2021

As of 2021, the latest population of Benin is 12,864,634, based on AllCityPopulation calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Population Distribution

Total population 12,864,634
Population growth rate 3.40%
Birth rate 35.00 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 60.67 years
Men life expectancy 59.37 years
Women life expectancy 62.04 years
Age structure
0-14 years 42.26%
15-64 years 54.84%
65 years and above 2.89%
Median age 17.90 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.01
Population density 114.23 residents per km²
Urbanization 44.60%
approx. 60 ethnic groups: 46.2% Fon, 15.6% Adja, 12.1% Yoruba, 8.6% Bariba, 3.3% Peul (Fulbe), 6.0% Otamari, 3.2% Dendi, 3, 0% Yoa Lokpa et al
Indigenous religions 50%, Christians 30%, Muslims 20%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.520
HDI ranking 163th out of 194

People in Benin

What do you actually call the people of Benin? “Beniner” is rarely used, but that would be the correct name. Most of the residents of Benin live in the south of the country, on the coast.

There are many peoples who live in Benin. Most of them belong to the Fon people, namely 39.2 percent. They live mainly in the south. 15.2 percent are Adja and 12.3 percent belong to the Yoruba. The Yoruba live mainly in the east of Benin. 9.2 percent of the population belong to the Bariba. The Fulbe in the north make up 7 percent. Many other peoples are represented in small minorities.

Children in Benin

Each woman in Benin has an average of 4.8 children. This is very much. With us, each woman has an average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people in Benin make up a large proportion of the population. Almost half of the population is under 15 years old!

Infant mortality is 3.1 percent, child mortality 6.1 percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That means: a little more than three out of 100 newborn children die, a little more than six out of 100 do not celebrate their first birthday. The numbers have even risen slightly again in recent years.

Urban and countryside

More and more people are moving to the cities. This is a typical phenomenon in West Africa (for example also in the Ivory Coast). This is called rural exodus. The more people come to cities, the more housing and jobs are missing. In Benin, 48 percent of the people now live in the city. In comparison with other countries, this is still little, but the number is increasing from year to year.

Languages in Benin

The official language in Benin is French. That means that you speak and write French in the offices, in administration and also in school. But the peoples also have their own languages. In total, more than 50 languages ​​are spoken in Benin! Children in the villages usually learn the language of their people first and then French at school.

As the Fon people are the most widespread, especially in the south, their language is one of the lingua franca here. Like the people, her name is Fon. So you hear them often in everyday life. The second most common language is Yoruba.

Bariba is more common in the north. The languages ​​Fon and Yoruba belong to the Kwa languages, Bariba is a Gur language. All again belong to the Niger-Congo languages. All languages ​​spoken in Benin belong to the Niger-Congo languages ​​(which includes a total of 1,400 languages). On the map you can see their main groups and where the Kwa languages ​​are spoken.

You have already read a word that comes from the Fon on the previous page: Voodoo. It was derived from the word “vodun”, which in Fon means God.

In all Kwa languages, the pitch changes the meaning of a word or phrase. They are therefore also called tonal languages. For us this is quite complicated, as you can see from an example from the Yoruba: ó bẹ́ means “he jumped”, but ó bẹ means “he is cheeky” and ó bẹ̀ means “he asks for excuse”. Every syllable in Yoruba has at least one pitch (high, medium or low), but it can also have two pitches.

There is also a script for some languages ​​of Benin, for example for Yoruba. Missionaries wrote down what they heard. The Latin alphabet is used, which we also use, but without c, q, v, x and z. There are also several other letters: gb and kp stand for sounds from the Yoruba language, in which g and b or k and p are spoken simultaneously and not one after the other. E, o and s are also available with a small line or a point below (ɛ, ɔ and sh), which means that eand o are spoken openly and that s sounds like a shit. Then there are accents that indicate whether a tone is pronounced high, low or medium. Using the example of i: í, ì and ī are possible! “I didn’t go” is written in Yoruba: n̄ ò lọ.

Religions in Benin

It is estimated that 25 to 50 percent of Benin’s residents follow the ancient natural religions. Above all, the belief in voodoo plays an important role in everyday life.

42.3 percent of the population are Christians. 23 percent of them belong to the Roman Catholic Church. 5.1 percent of Christians profess to the “Heavenly Church of Christ”, which was founded in 1947 in Benin.

27.8 percent profess Islam. Almost all of the Fulbe and Dendi peoples are Muslim, a little more than half of the Yoruba people, the other Yoruba are Christians. Belonging to a people does not necessarily say anything about the religion practiced. Muslims live all over the country, but they are more represented in the north than in the south of Benin.

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