Gabon Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Gabon Country Overview

Where is Gabon located? The state of Gabon is located in Central Africa and is one of the countries crossed by the equator. Since the time zone map divides the countries into world time zones along the lines of longitude, and Gabon is vertically south of Central Europe, they are in the same time zone. However, the zone in which Gabon is located has a different name. It is called “West African Time” (WAT) and, like “Central European Time”, is also one hour ahead of coordinated world time (UTC+1). In summer, as in most countries so close to the equator, there is no time difference to daylight saving time.

Gabon National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Gabon is 2,230,908, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 2,230,908
Population growth rate 2.50%
Birth rate 34.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 52.15 years
Men 51.58 years
Women 52.74 years
Age structure
0-14 years 37.45%
15-64 years 58.64%
65 years and above 3.91%
Median age 18.60 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 8.33 residents per km²
Urbanization 83.80%
approx. 40 ethnic groups (mainly Bantu groups, Fang, Bapounou, Nzebi, Obamba), 154,000 Europeans, 10,700 of them French and 11,000 people with dual nationalities.
Christians 55% -75%, animists, Muslims less than 1%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.702
HDI ranking 115th out of 194

People in Gabon

Two million people live in Gabon. That corresponds to the population of Hamburg. Thus Gabon is a very sparsely populated country. In addition, half of the population lives in the three cities of Libreville, Port-Gentil and Franceville. Overall, 89 percent of Gabonese live in cities and, accordingly, only 11 percent in rural areas.

Which ethnic groups live in Gabon?

The residents of Gabon belong to around 40 ethnic groups. Most of these are Bantu peoples, that is, they speak Bantu languages. The largest group are the catch with around 38 percent of the population. Nzebi, Mbete, Bapunu and Obamba are other larger ethnic groups. Four percent are Batéké. Only 1.5 percent belong to a pygmy people, the indigenous people of Gabon. Babongo in the south and Baka in the northeast are among them. The Baka are the only ones who do not speak a Bantu language in Gabon.

Languages in Gabon

The official language in Gabon is French. Gabon was a French colony for many years. So it has remained the language of administration, education and the media. 80 percent of the population can speak French.

The different peoples who live in Gabon also speak their own languages. Except for the language of the Baka, these are all Bantu languages. So they belong to a language family. Because Fang are the largest ethnic group, their language is also the most widely spoken. In the north of Gabon it is an important lingua franca and is therefore also spoken by other ethnic groups. Mbere, Punu (language of the Bapunu), Teke and Njebi also have a larger number of speakers.

Religions in Gabon

88 percent of Gabonese are Christians. Catholics form the majority among them. Muslims are a minority in the country at six percent.

The Bwiti cult is also practiced by the Babongo and Mitsoko peoples. The traditional natural religions with their belief in natural spirits and an ancestral cult mix with elements from Christianity. Bwiti originated in the middle of the 19th century. Young men are accepted into the community in an initiation rite. You need to eat large amounts of the iboga root, which will put you into a high. Music also plays a role in the ritual.