Demographics of Somalia
The demographics of Somalia (Arabic: التركيبة السكانية في الصومال) encompass the demographic features of Somalia's inhabitants, including ethnicity, languages, population density, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
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Somalis constitute the largest ethnic group in Somalia, at approximately 85% of the nation's inhabitants. They are organized into clan groupings, which are important social units; clan membership plays a central part in Somali culture and politics. Clans are patrilineal and are typically divided into sub-clans, sometimes with many sub-divisions. Through the xeer system (customary law), the advanced clan structure has served governmental roles in many rural Somali communities.
Somali society is traditionally ethnically endogamous. So to extend ties of alliance, marriage is often to another ethnic Somali from a different clan. Thus, for example, a recent study observed that in 89 marriages contracted by men of the Dhulbahante clan, 55 (62%) were with women of Dhulbahante sub-clans other than those of their husbands; 30 (33.7%) were with women of surrounding clans of other clan families (Isaaq, 28; Gedabursi, 3); and 3 (4.3%) were with women of other clans of the Darod clan family (Marehan 2, Ogaden 1).
Certain clans are traditionally classed as noble clans, referring to their nomadic lifestyle in contrast to the sedentary Sab who are either agropastoralists or artisanal castes. The five noble clans are Darod, Dir, Hawiye, Isaaq and Rahanweyn. Of these, the Dir and Hawiye are regarded as descended from Irir Samaale, the likely source of the ethnonym Somali. The Isaaq and Darod have separate agnatic (paternal) traditions of descent through Ishaak ibn Ahmed (Sheikh Ishak) and Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti (Sheikh Darod) respectively. Both Sheikh Ishak and Sheikh Darod are asserted to have married women from the Dir clan, thus establishing matrilateral ties with the Samaale main stem. "Sab" is the term used to refer to minor Somali clans in contrast to "Samaale". Both Samaale and Sab are the children of their father "Hiil" whose is the common ancestor all Somali clans.
A few clans in the southern part of Greater Somalia do not belong to the major clans, but came to be associated with them and were eventually adopted into one of their confederations: Gaalje'el in Hiran and elsewhere in central Somalia traces its paternal descent to Gardheere Samaale; Garre in the Somali Region and North Eastern Province is divided into two branches: Tuuf claiming itself to be Garre Gardheere Samaale, and Quranyow, who married Tuuf's daughter, is of Mahamed Hiniftir Mahe Dir lineage; Degoodi in the Somali Region and North Eastern Province is related to Gaaje'el as Saransoor and traces its patrilineage to Gardheere Samaale; Hawaadle in Hiran belongs to the Meyle Samaale; Ajuraan in the North Eastern Province claim descent from Maqaarre Samaale and Sheekhaal acknowledges descent from Sheikh Abadir Umar Ar-Rida, also known as Fiqi Umar. Thus, the Gaalje'el, Garre, Degoodi Ajuraan and Hawaadle are said to have patrilateral ties with the Dir and Hawiye through Samaale to Aqeel Abu Talib, whereas the Sheekhaal traces descent to a different forefather than the Samaale progeny, but also ultimately to Aqeel Abu Talib.
The Digil and Mirifle (Rahanweyn) are agro-pastoral clans in the area between the Jubba and Shebelle rivers. Many do not follow a nomadic lifestyle, live further south, and speak Maay. Although in the past frequently classified as a Somali dialect, more recent research by the linguist Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi suggests that Maay constitutes a separate but closely related Afro-Asiatic language of the Cushitic branch.
A third group, the occupational clans, are treated as outcasts. They can only marry among themselves and other Somalis considered them to be ritually unclean. They lived in their own settlements among the nomadic populations in the north and performed specialised occupations such as metalworking, tanning and hunting. These Minority Somali clans are the Gaboye, Tumaal, Yibir, Jaji and Yahar.
Clans and sub-clans
There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures. The divisions and subdivisions as given here are partial and simplified. Many lineages are omitted. Note that some sources state that the Rahanweyn group is made up of the Digil and Mirifle clans, whereas others list the Digil as a separate group from the Rahanweyn.
- Major clans
- Dir (Irir son of Samaale),
- Issa, Gadabuursi/Samaroon (Habar Makador, Habar 'Affan), Madahweyn or Madawini (Gurgura Garire, Gure), Quranyow-Garre, Surre, Dabruube/Dabrui, Barsug (Bursuk), Madigan, Biimaal (Gaadsen), Bajimal/Bajumal
- Arap, Ayoup, Garhajis (Eidagale and Habar Yoonis), Habr Awal (Sacad Muuse and Ciise Muuse), Habar Jeclo and Tol Jecle (Axmed Sheikh Isaxaaq)
- Hawiye (Irir son of Samaale)
- Dabarre, Jiddu, Garre, Tunni, Geledi
- Jilible, Hadame, Harin, Eelay, Jiron, Leysan
- Minor clans
Other ethnic groups
Non-Somali ethnic minority groups make up about 15% of the nation's population. They include Bantus, Bajunis, Eyle, Ethiopians, Indians, Pakistanis, Persians, Arabs, Italians and Britons. Somalia has been described as the most ethnically homogenous nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, ahead of Botswana, which is four-fifths Tswana.
Somali and Arabic are the official languages of Somalia. The Somali language is the mother tongue of the Somalis, the nation's most populous ethnic group. It is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic family.
In addition to Somali, Arabic, which is also an Afroasiatic tongue, is an official national language in Somalia. Many Somalis speak it due to centuries-old ties with the Arab world, the far-reaching influence of the Arabic media, and religious education.
English is widely used and taught. Italian used to be a major language, but its influence significantly diminished following independence. It is now most frequently heard among older generations, government officials, and in educated circles. Other minority languages include Bravanese, a variant of the Bantu Swahili language that is spoken along the coast by the Bravanese people, as well as Bajuni, another Swahili dialect that is the mother tongue of the Bajuni ethnic minority group.
According to the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects, the total population was 15,008,226 in 2018, compared to 2,264,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 44.9%, 52.3% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 2.7% was 65 years or older.
|Total population||Population aged 0–14 (%)||Population aged 15–64 (%)||Population aged 65+ (%)|
|1950||2 264 000||41.2||56.2||2.6|
|1955||2 522 000||42.6||54.7||2.7|
|1960||2 819 000||44.2||53.0||2.8|
|1965||3 171 000||45.3||51.8||2.9|
|1970||3 601 000||45.5||51.6||2.9|
|1975||4 118 000||45.8||51.2||3.0|
|1980||6 436 000||46.2||50.9||2.9|
|1985||6 364 000||45.1||52.0||2.9|
|1990||6 599 000||44.4||52.6||2.9|
|1995||6 525 000||43.2||53.9||2.8|
|2000||7 399 000||44.1||53.1||2.8|
|2005||8 360 000||44.6||52.6||2.8|
|2010||9 331 000||44.9||52.3||2.7|
|Period||Live births per year||Deaths per year||Natural change per year||CBR*||CDR*||NC*||TFR*||IMR*|
|1950-1955||128 000||76 000||52 000||53.4||31.9||21.5||7.25||207|
|1955-1960||139 000||79 000||60 000||52.1||29.7||22.4||7.25||193|
|1960-1965||153 000||82 000||71 000||51.0||27.5||23.6||7.25||179|
|1965-1970||172 000||86 000||86 000||50.8||25.5||25.3||7.25||167|
|1970-1975||194 000||91 000||103 000||50.4||23.6||26.8||7.10||155|
|1975-1980||266 000||120 000||146 000||50.3||22.7||27.7||7.00||149|
|1980-1985||280 000||128 000||152 000||43.8||20.0||23.8||6.70||138|
|1985-1990||293 000||120 000||174 000||45.3||18.5||26.8||6.70||127|
|1990-1995||299 000||135 000||164 000||45.6||20.6||25.0||6.50||141|
|1995-2000||320 000||125 000||195 000||45.9||17.9||28.0||6.50||123|
|2000-2005||360 000||128 000||232 000||45.7||16.2||29.5||6.50||111|
|2005-2010||391 000||137 000||254 000||44.2||15.5||28.7||6.40||107|
|* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)|
- One birth every 48 seconds
- One death every 3 minutes
- One net migrant every 14 minutes
- Net gain of one person every 1 minutes
The following demographic are from the CIA World Factbook unless otherwise indicated.
- 11,259,029 (July 2018 est.)
- 10,428,043 (2014 est.)
- 0-14 years: 42.87% (male 2,410,215 /female 2,416,629)
- 15-24 years: 19.35% (male 1,097,358 /female 1,081,762)
- 25-54 years: 31.23% (male 1,821,823 /female 1,694,873)
- 55-64 years: 4.35% (male 245,744 /female 243,893)
- 65 years and over: 2.19% (male 95,845 /female 150,887) (2018 est.)
- total: 18.2 years. Country comparison to the world: 211st
- male: 18.4 years
- female: 18 years (2018 est.)
- 39.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 9th
- 40.87 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- 12.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
- 13.91 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- 5.7 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 6th
Population growth rate
- 2.08% (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 45th
- 1.75% (2014 est.)
Net migration rate
- -5.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 199th
- -9.51 migrants/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- total dependency ratio: 97.4 (2015 est.)
- youth dependency ratio: 92.1 (2015 est.)
- elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 (2015 est.)
- potential support ratio: 18.8 (2015 est.)
- urban population: 45% of total population (2018)
- rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
- urban population: 37.7% of total population (2011)
- rate of urbanization: 3.79 annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate
- total: 93 deaths/1,000 live births
- male: 101.4 deaths/1,000 live births
- female: 84.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
- total population: 53.2 years
- male: 51 years
- female: 55.4 years (2018 est.)
- total population: 51.58 years
- male: 49.58 years
- female: 53.65 years (2014 est.)
- HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.1% (2017 est.)
- HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
11,000 (2017 est.)
- HIV/AIDS - deaths
<1000 (2017 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2013)
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- The Quranyo section of the Garre claim descent from Dirr, who are born of the Irrir Samal. UNDP Paper in Keyna http://www.undp.org/content/dam/kenya/docs/Amani%20Papers/AP_Volume1_n2_May2010.pdf
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This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Africa - SOMALIA". CIA The World Factbook.
- No reliable data on nationwide literacy rate. 2013 FSNAU survey indicates considerable differences per region, with the autonomous northeastern Puntland region having the highest registered literacy rate (72%).
- Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, Worldbank, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts
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- Somali Clan Structure, Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Demographics of Somalia.|
- "The Somali Ethnic Group and Clan System", from "Reunification of the Somali People", Jack L. Davies