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 Demographics of Gabon

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PostSubject: Demographics of Gabon   Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:25 pm

The population of Gabon is nearly 1.5 million (1,442,334).[6] Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin, though Gabon has at least forty ethnic groups with diverse languages and cultures. The Fang are generally thought to be the largest, although recent census data seem to favor the Bandjabi (or Nzebi). Others include the Myene, Bakota, Eshira, Bapounou, and Okande. Ethnic group boundaries are less sharply drawn in Gabon than elsewhere in Africa. French, the official language, may be regarded as a unifying force. It is estimated that 80% of the country's population are able to speak French, and that 30% of Libreville residents are native speakers of the language. Nationally, 32% of the Gabonese people speak the Fang language as a mother tongue.[13] More than 10,000 French people live in Gabon, and France is the predominant foreign cultural and commercial influence.

Historical and environmental factors caused Gabon's population to decline between 1900 and 1940. It has one of the lowest population densities of any country in Africa, and labor shortages form a major obstacle to development and a draw for foreign workers. Most inhabitants are Christians, with estimates of the Christian population ranging from 55 to 77%, mostly members of the Roman Catholic Church. Muslims make up 12% of the population. Other religious groups include animists and practitioners of indigenous African religions. Gabon's literacy rate is 63.2%

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