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Benin PopulationBenin PopulationPhoto: Crops for the Future CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In Benin live 11.138. 805 million people (2017). The population density is quite low and amounts to about 96 inhabitants per square kilometer.

All of the above figures can change quickly and significantly in connection with the AIDS epidemic.

Population composition:

In total there are about 40 ethnic groups living in Benin. The largest population group is the Fon belonging to the Ewe in the south. About 40% of the population belongs to the Fon. Some other population groups are the Yoruba, who live in East and Central Benin, the Adja, the Bariba, Dendi, the Somba and the Fulani, who live in North Benin. The French make up the majority of the foreigners living in Benin.


French Language MapFrench Language MapPhoto: Public domain

Although French is the official language of Benin, more than 50 indigenous languages have national language status. Of these languages, Fon (a Gbe language) and Yoruba are the most important in the south of the country. In the north, there are half a dozen regionally important languages, including Bariba (reckoned as a Gur language) and Fulfulde. Native languages are generally transcribed with a separate letter for each speech sound (phoneme), rather than with diacritics as in French.


Vodoun Altar BeninVodoun Altar BeninPhoto: Dominik Schwarz CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Half of the inhabitants of Benin adhere to animism. Those who identify themselves as Christians or Muslims are also likely to observe some traditional indigenous customs. The most common indigenous religion is Vodoun. Vodoun spread to America through slavery and later became a source for African-inspired religions such as Santeria (in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean), Voodoo (in Haiti) and Candomble (in Brazil). The Vodoun religion is based on the belief in one supreme being who rules over a number of lesser gods, spirits and saints.

Baptists Benin Baptists BeninPhoto: Ferdinand Reus CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

About 30% of the population is Christian, mainly Roman Catholic. 20% of the population is Sunni Muslim.

The Benin Constitution states that there is freedom of religion.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
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