Burkina Faso Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Burkina Faso Country Overview

Where is Burkina Faso located? Burkina Faso is an African country found in western Africa. The time zone map of the world divides countries into world time zones along lines of longitude. The respective time zone to which a country belongs then provides information about how much the time in this country deviates from the coordinated world time (also called UTC). Burkina Faso is located in a time zone called “Greenwich Mean Time” and there is no time difference to universal time. As in many other countries in Africa, there is no daylight saving time change in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Burkina Faso is 20,835,401, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 20,835,401
Population growth rate 2.66%
Birth rate 41.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 54.43 years
Men 52.43 years
Women 56.48 years
Age structure
0-14 years 44.28%
15-64 years 52.56%
65 years and above 3.16%
Median age 17.10 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 75.99 residents per km²
Urbanization 17.80%
approx. 60 ethnic groups: Volta peoples (including 48% Mossi), Mande groups (17% Bobo; Sanike, Diula, etc.); 10% Fulbe, 7% Dagara u. Lobi, 5% Gourmantché (Gur)
Indigenous religions 40%, Muslims 50%, Christians (mainly Catholics (Roman Catholic)) 10%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.434
HDI ranking 182nd out of 194

People in Burkina Faso

The residents of Burkina Faso are called either Burkiner or Burkinabé. Burkinabé emphasizes the last syllable.

As in all of Africa, many peoples live together in one country in Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso, 40 percent of the population belong to the Mossi. The country’s senior politicians are mostly Mossi. Your residential area is in the middle of the country, where the capital Ouagadougou is located.

The Bobo (14 percent) and the Senufo (9 percent) live in the southwest of Burkina Faso. Lobi make up 6 percent of the population.

The Gulmancema (8 percent), who are closely related to the Mossi, live in the southeast. The Fulbe (also called Peul, 5 percent) live in the northeast. The Tuareg (5 percent) also live in the north. Some of the Fulbe and Tuareg still live as nomads.

Children in Burkina Faso

Every woman in Burkina Faso has an average of 5.2 children. This is very much. With us, each woman has an average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people in Burkina Faso make up more than half of the population.

Infant mortality is 2.5 percent, child mortality 4.9 percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That means: a little less than three out of 100 newborn children die, almost five out of 100 do not celebrate their first birthday. The numbers have fallen in recent years, but are still too high.

Urban and countryside

More and more people are moving to the cities. This is a typical phenomenon in West Africa (for example also in the Ivory Coast). This is called rural exodus. The more people come to cities, the more housing and jobs are missing. In Burkina Faso, 30 percent of the people live in cities. In comparison with other countries, this is still little, but the number is increasing from year to year. Many young people are drawn to Ougadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. They hope that they will find work and better living conditions there.

Languages in Burkina Faso

The official language in Burkina Faso is French. This is a legacy from colonial times. It is actually only spoken by a few people. But it is used in writing. And because it is also taught in school, more and more people are now learning French.

Mòoré, the language of the Mossi, is spoken more often. Especially in the west and south of the country one speaks Dioula. It is used here as a lingua franca and business language. Fulfulde is the language of the Fulbe, it is spoken more in the north. Arabic and the Turaeg language Tamascheq can also be heard there.

Would you like to learn a little Mòoré? Good morning is called Ney yibeogo. Yehla means welcome. This is how you are greeted when you walk into a room. Nuogomeans okay, nyee is yes and ayo is no. Barka means thank you.

Religions in Burkina Faso

15.3 percent of Burkinabe believe in the old natural religions. This means that the proportion is higher than in other West African countries. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the Mossi have long resisted Islamization, i.e. refused to accept Islam.

Today 60.5 percent of Burkinabe are Muslim. 23.2 percent are Christians, mostly Catholics (19 percent).