Demographics of Sudan

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In Sudan's 1981 census, the population was calculated at 21 million. No comprehensive census has been carried out since that time due to the resumption of the civil war in 1983. Current estimates range to 30 million.

The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and ranges from six to seven million, including around two million displaced persons from the southern war zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.

Sudan has two distinct major cultures-- Arabic-speaking Black Africans and non-Arabic speaking Black Africans--with hundreds of ethnic and tribal divisions and language groups between them, which makes effective collaboration among them a major problem.

The northern states cover most of the Sudan and include most of the urban centers. Most of the 22 million Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic-speaking Muslims, though the majority also use a traditional non-Arabic mother tongue (i.e., Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc.) Among these are several distinct tribal groups; the Kababish of northern Kordofan, a camel-raising people; the Ja'alin and Shaigiyya groups of settled tribes along the rivers; the seminomadic Baggara of Kordofan and Darfur; the Beja in the Red Sea area and Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River; and the Nuba of southern Kordofan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.

The southern region has a population of around 6 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period (1956), resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced persons or become refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts. Here the Sudanese practice mainly indigenous traditional beliefs, although some practice Christianity, partly a result of Christian missionary efforts and partly a holdover from earlier Christian Nubian civilizations. The south also contains many tribal groups and uses many more languages than in the north. The Dinka (pop. est. more than 1 million) is the largest of the many Black African tribes of the Sudan. Along with the Shilluk and the Nuer, they are among the Nilotic tribes. The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the Acholi and Lotuhu live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda.

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

Population: 35,079,814 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 8,064,592; female 7,712,839)
15-64 years: 53% (male 9,300,886; female 9,290,340)
65 years and over: 2% (male 406,034; female 305,123) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.84% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 38.58 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 10.28 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.33 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 70.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.55 years
male: 55.49 years
female: 57.66 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.47 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups: black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)

Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of Islamicization in process

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 34.6% (1995 est.)

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