Djibouti Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Djibouti Country Overview

Where is Djibouti located? The Republic of Djibouti can be found in East Africa, right on the Bab el Mandeb Strait. Djibouti was occupied by the French during colonial times, but has been independent for about 30 years. On the time zone map, which shows countries roughly divided into their world time zones along the lines of longitude, Djibouti is in a time zone called “East Africa Time” (EAT). In this time zone there is a time difference of 3 hours from the world clock. This means that the clocks there are always 3 hours later than those showing Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Bordering Countries of Djibouti

According to abbreviationfinder, Djibouti is a small but strategically located nation in the Horn of Africa. It borders Somalia to the southeast, Ethiopia to the south and west, Eritrea to the northwest, and the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to the east. Ethiopia is Djibouti’s largest neighbor, sharing a 159-mile border. This long border has been an area of dispute in the past due to its importance as a trade route between Ethiopia and Djibouti. The two countries have had numerous territorial disputes over this region since independence was declared in 1977.

The border with Eritrea stretches for 109 miles and has been an area of contention since both countries declared independence from Ethiopia in 1993. In 1998, a border war broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia which resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides before it ended in 2000. Since then, there have been intermittent skirmishes along this volatile frontier. A United Nations peacekeeping mission was established on both sides of the border to ensure that tensions do not flare up again between these two countries.

The 111-mile frontier with Somalia is largely uncontrolled due to instability in that country which has lasted for decades now. This has led to illegal smuggling activities such as gun running and human trafficking taking place along this porous border with impunity. Djibouti has occasionally sent troops into Somalia to secure its own borders against any potential threats from across the frontier.

Finally, Djibouti shares an important maritime boundary with Yemen which runs along a portion of the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea coastlines for about 75 miles (121 km). This waterway serves as a key shipping lane for vessels travelling from Europe through Asia as well as another important conduit for smuggling activities by terrorists or pirates operating out of Yemen or Somalia into Djiboutian waters.

Djibouti National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Djibouti is 921,804, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 921,804
Population growth rate 2.07%
Birth rate 23.40 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 61.99 years
Men 59.52 years
Women 64.52 years
Age structure
0-14 years 30.71%
15-64 years 65.46%
65 years and above 3.83%
Median age 23.20 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.86
Population density 39.73 residents per kmĀ²
Urbanization 83.70%
approx. 60% Issa (Northern Somali), 35% Afar; Europeans (especially French) and Arabs
Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.495
HDI ranking 171st out of 194

People in Djibouti

About 850,000 people live in Djibouti. About 60 out of 100 residents are Somali, 35 out of 100 are Afar. Somali live mainly in the south of the country, Afar in the north and west. While the Somali live more as farmers, the Afar move around with their herds as nomads. The Afar speak Cushite. There can be tension between the two ethnic groups. The Afar who live on Lake Assal also find their income from the salt trade.

Some French also still live in Djibouti. There are also Arabs and immigrants from Ethiopia and Somalia, the neighboring states of Djibouti. Incidentally, Somalis from Somalia are allowed to flee to Djibouti if there are problems in their country, which is not infrequently the case. Immigrants from neighboring countries make up a large proportion of the population in Djibouti.

Many people now live in cities. 77 out of 100 residents are city dwellers and half of them live in the slums. A third of the population is younger than 15 years and 60 out of 100 people have no job. Few people can even afford anything here and travel as business people or politicians. The employees from abroad are also doing well in comparison. But most of Djibouti’s population is very poor.

Languages in Djibouti


Religions in Djibouti

Most of the people – 94 out of 100 – are Sunni Muslims. People of other religions are not persecuted in Djibouti. There are also some Catholics living in the country.