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The People of Gabon


  • Total population: 1,221,175 (Ranked 151st in the world by the US Census Bureau.).
  • Population density: 12 per square mile.
  • Children 0-14: 33.3%-406,510.
  • Teenage 10-19: 19.8%-241,989.
  • Youth between 15-24: 18.4%-224,592.
  • Seniors Over 70: 3.2%-39,627.
  • Male to female ratio: 101 males per 100 females.
  • Birth rate: 27.60 per 1000 people.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 54.4 years for males; 60.6 for females.
  • Infant mortality rate: 80.77 per 1000 live births.

Educational Landscape

Pre-primary Beginning age, 3 Duration, 3 years
Primary Beginning age, 6 Duration, 6 years
Secondary Beginning age, 12 Duration, 7 years

Ethnic Landscape

The Bantu tribes make up the majority of Gabon’s population. The major tribes within Bantu in Gabon are:

  • Fang
  • Eshira
  • Bapounou
  • Bateke

The other nationalities are African and European (French is one of the largest European nationalities).

Social Landscape

There are 1.2 million people in Gabon (613,000 males, 608,000 females, or a 101 male to 100 female ratio). 33% Of the Gabonese population is under 15. Population growth is at 1.08%. The birth rate is 27.6 per 1,000 people, and the infant mortality rate is almost 96.3 per 1,000 live births. The overall life expectancy is 50.08 years (almost 49 for men and 51.2 for women). Estimates place the literacy rate for those over 15 at 63% (74% for men, 53% for women). All citizens over 21 have the right to vote.


One of the most important issues facing people in Gabon in 2001 is the growing threat of HIV/AIDS. The latest figures show 23,000 people in Gabon who have been infected by HIV (2% of the total population). Most of the 23,000 (22,000) cases are those over age 15. The percentage of adults with HIV is estimated at 4.16% and rising. Though the nation is wealthy because of its oil industry, little of the economic benefit filters down to the average person. In addition, though Gabon is officially a democracy, outside observers feel that the Gabonese people have never really exercised their constitutional right to change the government by democratic means. There is severe political influence on the country’s judiciary, and the legal system presumes guilt. Women have fairly equal access in terms of employment, although their legal rights are not equal to men. Domestic violence is also an issue in Gabon.

Religion and Faith

Christianity is the predominant religion in Gabon, outnumbering both Muslim and traditional religions by a wide margin. Some (Barrett) put the Christian population at 90% of the overall population. The Muslim population, while growing, is still statistically quite small (57,000 adherents out of a total of 1.2 million, or less than 5 percent). Traditional religions do still claim about 3% of the population.


UNESCO Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

Freedom House.

Jonathan Ketcham
© 2018 CYS

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