Demographics of Cameroon

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

Cameroon's demographic profile is comprised of an estimated 250 distinct ethnic groups, which may be formed into five large regional-cultural divisions:

  • western highlanders (Semi-Bantu or grassfielders), including the Bamileke, Bamun (or Bamoun), and many smaller Tikar groups in the Northwest (est. 38% of total population);
  • coastal tropical forest peoples, including the Bassa, Duala (or Douala), and many smaller groups in the Southwest (12%);
  • southern tropical forest peoples, including the Beti-Pahuin, Bulu (a subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Fang (subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Maka-Njem, and Baka pygmies (18%);
  • predominantly Islamic peoples of the northern semi-arid regions (the Sahel) and central highlands, including the Fulani (or Peuhl in French) (14%); and
  • the "Kirdi", non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples of the northern desert and central highlands (18%).
File:Tikar family.jpg
A Tikar family in the Northwest Province
File:Maka-Njem ethnic groups.png
Map showing the location of the various Maka-Njem ethnic groups of Cameroon

Peoples concentrated in the Southwest and Northwest Provinces — around Buea and Bamenda — use standard English and "Cameroonian Pidgin English," as well as their local languages. In the three northern provinces — Adamawa, North, and Extreme North — either French or Fulfulde (the language of the Fulani) is widely spoken. Elsewhere, French is the principal second language, although pidgin and some local languages such as Ewondo, the dialect of a Beti clan from the Yaoundé area, have a wide currency.

Although Yaoundé is Cameroon's capital, Douala is the largest city, main seaport, and main industrial and commercial center.

The western highlands are the most fertile in Cameroon and have a relatively healthy environment in higher altitudes. This region is densely populated and has intensive agriculture, commerce, cohesive communities, and historical emigration pressures. Bantu migrations into eastern, southern, and central Africa are believed to have originated from this region about 2,000 years ago. Bamileke people from this area have in recent years migrated to towns elsewhere in Cameroon, such as the coastal provinces, where they form much of the business community. About 14,000 non-Africans, including more than 6,000 French and 1,000 U. S. citizens, reside in Cameroon.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook


Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.7% (male 3,457,180/female 3,375,668)
15-64 years: 55% (male 4,537,281/female 4,477,163)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 239,634/female 293,079) (2005 est.)

Median age

Total: 18.6 years
Male: 18.45 years
Female: 18.76 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate

1.93% (2005 est.)

Birth rate

34.67 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate

15.4 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 68.26 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 72.14 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 64.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 47.84 years
Male: 47.04 years
Female: 48.67 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.47 children born/woman (2005 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: 6.9% (2003 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 560,000 (2003 est.)
Deaths: 49,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever are high risks in some locations
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2004)


Noun: Cameroonian(s)
Adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups

Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%


Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%


There are 24 major African language groups in Cameroon; additionally, English and French are official languages. Cameroonian Pidgin English is also widely spoken.

Indigenous languages of Cameroon include:


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 79%
Male: 84.7%
Female: 73.4% (2003 est.)


Template:CIA WFB 2005

fr:Démographie du Cameroun