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There are 20 indigenous groups, which together make up 90% of the population. The largest are the Mende in the south and east (about 31% of the total population) and the Temne in the west and centre of the country (35%). In the top echelons of the army and police, the Limba (8%) dominate. The Creoles (Krio) (2%), descendants of freed slaves who returned mainly from America, play an important role in political, cultural and economic life. They live mainly in the capital. There are large groups of foreigners, including Liberians, Nigerians, Lebanese and Western Europeans.

The population of Sierra Leone is 6,138,195 (2017). The population density is about 88 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The natural population growth rate is 2.38%. (2017)
Birth rate per 1000 inhabitants is 36.3 (2017)
Death rate per 1000 inhabitants is 10.4 (2017)
Life expectancy is 58.6 years. (Men 56 and women 61.3 years (2017)


The official language of Sierra Leone is English, but it is only spoken by a minority of the population. Indigenous languages are mainly spoken, especially Krio, Mende and Temne.


Islam is the most widely practised religion in Sierra Leone (60%). There are also 10% Christians. The rest of the population practises an indigenous religion.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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