Gambia Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Gambia Country Overview

Where is Gambia located? The Republic of The Gambia is located in western Africa and is almost completely surrounded by the country of Senegal. On the time zone map it can be seen that Gambia is vertically located in the same time zone as “Western European Time”. The world time zone there is otherwise called “Greenwich Mean Time” (GMT), but the time difference to coordinated world time (UTC) is the same in both zones: there is none, UTC+-0. There is no changeover to daylight saving time in summer.

Bordering Countries of Gambia

According to abbreviationfinder, Gambia is a small West African country bordered by Senegal to the north, south and west, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country covers an area of 11,295 square kilometers with a population of around 2 million people. Gambia is known for its diverse culture which includes multiple ethnic and religious communities such as Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Jola and Christian.

The northern border of Gambia is formed by Senegal which is a larger French-speaking country covering an area of 196,190 square kilometers with a population of around 16 million people. Senegal has a varied landscape consisting mostly of savanna but there are also some mountains in its eastern regions as well as some forests in its western regions. Its main river is the Senegal River which forms part of the border between Gambia and Senegal. Additionally, Dakar is the capital city located on the westernmost tip of Africa and it serves as an important cultural center for both countries.

To Gambia’s south lies Guinea-Bissau which has an area of 36,125 square kilometers and a population of 1.7 million people. Guinea-Bissau has mostly tropical rainforest terrain but there are also some areas that have been deforested due to mining activities or cleared for agricultural use along its coastlines. The main river in Guinea-Bissau is Corubal River which forms part of the border between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau as well as between other countries such as Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. Bissau is the capital city located near Corubal River in the north central region of Guinea-Bissau where many government buildings can be found such as National Assembly Building or Presidential Palace among others.

To Gambia’s east lies Guinea Conakry which covers an area of 245,857 square kilometers with a population just under 13 million people making it one of Africa’s most populous countries after Nigeria and Ethiopia. It has mostly savanna terrain but there are also some mountainous regions located towards its northern regions near Fouta Djallon Plateau where Mount Nimba can be found rising up to 1752 meters above sea level making it one of Africa’s highest mountains. Its main river is Niger River flowing through its central region from southwest to northeast forming part of its border with Benin at its source before entering into Nigeria further downstream where it eventually empties into Atlantic Ocean at Gulf Of Guinea via Niger Delta region near Lagos State in Nigeria.

Gambia National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Gambia is 2,173,999, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 2,173,999
Population growth rate 1.87%
Birth rate 29.40 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 64.09 years
Men 61.78 years
Women 66.47 years
Age structure
0-14 years 36.97%
15-64 years 59.47%
65 years and above 3.55%
Median age 20.50 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.98
Population density 192.47 residents per km²
Urbanization 26.10%
approx. 44% Mandingo, 18% Fulbe, 12% Wolof, 7% Djola, 7% Sarakole and others
Muslims 90%, Christians 9%, indigenous religions 1%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.466
HDI ranking 174th out of 194

People in Gambia

More than two million people live in the Gambia. 415,000 of them live in Serrekunda, the largest city in the country. Brikama, Bakau and Lamin are the three next largest cities. The population is growing very rapidly – by around four percent every year. 61 out of 100 people in Gambia live in cities, 39 out of 100 in rural areas.

Gambia’s ethic groups

Many ethic groups live in the Gambia. The Mandinka make up the largest proportion of the population at around 40 percent. In percentage terms, they have the largest share in Gambia, but in terms of their number they are even more common in Senegal, although they only make up three percent of the population there.

Fulbe (18.8 percent), Wolof (14.6 percent) and Diola (10.6 percent) are the next largest ethnic groups. Serahuli represent 8.9 percent. Minorities are the Serer (2.8 percent), Aku (1.8 percent), Manjago (0.8 percent) and Bambara (0.7 percent).

Since the borders of the countries in West Africa were drawn by the Europeans during the colonization, peoples live in today’s Gambia who were separated by the border drawing. So peoples live across borders. It is true that someone born in Gambia is a Gambian with a Gambian passport – but one sees one’s own belonging to one’s people rather than one’s state. This is also typical for all of West Africa. Wolof and Fulbe also live in Senegal, for example.

The children in Gambia

Every woman in Gambia has an average of five children. This is very much. With us, each woman has an average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people in Gambia make up a large proportion of the population. A little more than half of the population is under 18 years old!

Infant mortality is 2.6 percent, child mortality 3.9 percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That means: almost three out of 100 newborn children die, almost four out of 100 do not celebrate their first birthday. The numbers have been going down over the past few decades, but they’re still too high.

Languages in Gambia

English remained the official language in the Gambia even after independence from Great Britain in 1965. A total of 20 languages ​​are spoken in Gambia, because every people has its own language. The most widespread is the Mandinka, as the Mandinka people are the largest ethnic group. This is followed by Wolof, which is also used as a commercial language, and Fulfulde, the language of the Fulbe.

Arabic is the language of education and the language of religion, i.e. Islam. Many Gambians also understand and speak French.

Religions in Gambia

In Gambia, 90 percent of the population are Muslims, so they belong to Islam. Eight percent are Christians. About two percent officially follow the old natural religions. This also includes voodoo. However, some Muslims and Christians also practice this belief in addition to their beliefs. Often there are joint events that are then opened jointly by a priest and an imam. The crocodile is considered a sacred animal in Gambia.