Demographics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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

The population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was estimated at 65.8 million in 2007. As many as 250 ethnic groups have been distinguished and named. The most numerous people are the Bakongo, Luba, and Mongo. Although 700 local languages and dialects are spoken, the linguistic variety is bridged both by the use of French and the intermediary languages Kikongo, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Lingala.

Christianity is the majority religion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, followed by about 95.1% of the population. Denominations include Protestant (including Kimbanguism) 46.5%, Roman Catholic 41.5%, Orthodox 0.1%, other Christian 6.9%, Indigenous 2.8%, Muslim 0.9%, Non-religious 0.7%, Hindu 0.1%, and other 0.5%.[1] Kimbanguism was seen as a threat to the colonial regime and was banned by the Belgians. Kimbanguism, officially "the church of Christ on Earth by the prophet Simon Kimbangu", now has about three million members,[2] primarily among the Bakongo of Bas-Congo and Kinshasa. The largest concentration of Christians following William Branham is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is estimated that there are up to 2,000,000 followers.[citation needed]

Before independence, education was largely in the hands of religious groups. The primary school system was well-developed at independence; however, the secondary school system was limited, and higher education was almost nonexistent in most regions of the country. The principal objective of this system was to train low-level administrators and clerks. Since independence, efforts have been made to increase access to education, and secondary and higher education have been made available to many more Congolese. Despite the deterioration of the state-run educational system in recent years, about 80% of the males and 65% of females, ages 6–11, were enrolled in a mixture of state- and church-run primary schools in 1996. At higher levels of education, males greatly outnumber females. The elite continues to send their children abroad to be educated, primarily in Western Europe.

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