Demographics of Gabon

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Gabon, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Gabon has a population that is estimated at 1,545,255.[1] Historical and environmental factors caused Gabon's population to decline between 1900 and 1940.[citation needed] It has one of the lowest population densities of any country in Africa,[1] and labor shortages form a major obstacle to development and a draw for foreign workers.[citation needed]

Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin, though Gabon has at least forty ethnic groups with diverse languages and cultures.[1] The Fang are generally thought to be the largest,[1] although recent census data seem to favor the Bandjabi (or Nzebi).[citation needed] Others include the Myene, Bakota, Eshira, Bapounou, and Okande.[1] Ethnic group boundaries are less sharply drawn in Gabon than elsewhere in Africa. Most ethnicities are spread throughout Gabon, leading to constant contact and interaction among the groups. Intermarriage between the ethnicities is quite common, helping reduce ethnic tensions. French, the official language, is a unifying force. The Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG)'s historical dominance also has served to unite various ethnicities and local interests into a larger whole. More than 10,000 native French live in Gabon, including an estimated 2,000 dual nationals.[1]

It is estimated that 80% of the country's population are able to speak French, and that 30% of Libreville residents are native speakers of the language. Nationally, 32% of the Gabonese people speak the Fang language as a mother tongue.[2]

Most inhabitants are Christians, with estimates of the Christian population ranging from 55 to 77%, mostly members of the Roman Catholic Church. Muslims make up 12% of the population. Other religious groups include animists and practitioners of indigenous African religions. Gabon's literacy rate is 63.2%.[3]

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