Sierra Leone Population 2019

7,835,859

Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa bordered by Guinea, Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean. In 2019, the estimated population of Sierra Leone is 7.81 million, which ranks 103rd in the world.

Sierra Leone Area and Population Density

Sierra Leone is a West African country along the Atlantic Ocean, bordering Liberia and Guinea. The land itself is broken up into four quadrants: Guinean mangroves (essentially swamps along the coastline), forested hills, plateaus high above sea level, and mountains in the east. Sierra Leone is a rapidly growing country with an estimated population of 7.557 million, up from 5.5 million in 2008, within 27,699 square miles (71,740 square kilometers) of area, ranking Sierra Leone 103rd in terms of population, and 120th in terms of area. Using these figured, the population density of Sierra Leone is 273 people per square mile (105 people per square kilometer), which ranks 87th in the world for population density.

Largest Cities in Sierra Leone

35% of people living in Sierra Leone live in urban areas, and as such there aren't many large cities in the country. The Western Area Urban District, which includes the capital and largest city Freetown, has a population of 853,651 and a population density of 1,224 people per square kilometers, while the Koinadugu district in the north has a population density of 21 people per square kilometer. The second most populous city, found in the southern portion of the country, is Bo with a population of 233,684. Bo is very diverse and is the home to one of the nation's most prestigious universities. The only two other cities with populations over 100,000 are Kenema and Makeni.

Sierra Leone Demographics

Sierra Leone has 16 different ethnic groups, each with a different language. The largest ethnic group is the Temne (35%), followed by the Mende (31%). The Temne are dominant in the Northern Sierra Leone and areas around the capital, while the Mende live mostly in the South-Eastern Sierra Leone and the Kono District.

The third-largest ethnic group is the Limba (8%), who are native to the area and live in Northern Sierra Leone. The fourth group are the Fula (7%), who are descendants of Fulani migrant settlers from the 17th and 18th century who came from Guinea.

Other major ethnic groups include the Mandingo (2%), who are descended from Guinea traders; the Kono (5%), who are also descended from Guinea migrants; and the Krio (2%) people, who are descendants of freed African American, West Indian and Liberated African slaves and make up 3% of the population.

Smaller ethnic groups include the Kuranko, who arrived in the area around 1600; the Loko (2%), who are native to Sierra Leone; the Kissi, and the Sherbro.

Sierra Leone has a young population with 42% of its population under 15, and a rural population with 62% of people living outside of the cities. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world that is facing many challenges. It has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in West Africa (60%), much of its drinking water is collected from polluted sources, one of the worst literacy rates in Africa and health problems that include HIV/AIDS, malaria, and yellow fever. About 81% of its population lives in poverty.

Sierra Leone Religion, Economy and Politics

There is no official religious affiliation in Sierra Leone, but nearly everyone living there is either Muslim or Christian. About 78% of the population are Muslims, while Christians make up 21% of the population. Although there isn't a state religion, it is common to find Christian prayers said during the beginning of political occasions. Within the Muslim population, almost all of them are of the Sunni denomination. Religious violence is rare, and Sierra Leone is known as one of the world's most religiously tolerant nations, with Christians and Muslims regularly working together peacefully. Any civil disputes in the country were never religiously motivated.

The economy in Sierra Leone has always been heavily reliant on mineral mining, and it has kept the economy from being able to flourish under the attitude that gold and diamonds are enough of a backbone for the economy of an entire nation. Consequently, the country is heavily reliant upon foreign aid. Agriculture is also an important part of the economy, accounting for 58% of the country's GDP, and employing 80% of the people living there. Rice is Sierra Leone's most common export.

Officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, the country has its government divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The country itself is broken down into 149 chiefdoms, small local units of government.

Sierra Leone Population History

Sierra Leone did not become independent, free from Britain, until 1961, and its population history is understandably pretty short. The country was declared a republic in 1971 and shortly after a constitution was written declaring the country a single-party state with the All People's Congress being the only legal party. As with many new countries, Sierra Leone experienced a period of civil war shortly after its formation in 1991 when Foday Sankoh, a former army corporal, rebelled against the president and began capturing towns on the border with Liberia. The civil war lasted several years but led to an amended constitution allowing for multiple parties.

An Ebola outbreak hit Sierra Leone in 2014, killing more than 700, forcing the country to declare a state of emergency, forcing people to stay indoors for three days. The World Health Organization declared that the emergency had cleared by 2016.

Sierra Leone Population Growth

As a relatively new country, the growth rate in Sierra Leone has been above average throughout its history, and the steady increase in population is still going on today and the annual rate of change has been over 2% since around the turn of the century. The median age in Sierra Leone is 18.5 years, which is disproportionately young and makes for a very young working population. The average woman gives birth to roughly 4.5 children, and this high birth rate is the cause of the substantial growth rate in the country.

Sierra Leone Population Projections

The annual growth rate in Sierra Leone is not expected to remain over 2% for much longer. Current projections believe that the rate of growth will peak at 2.14% in 2020 before declining towards 1.22% by the year 2050- a fairly drastic drop. The population numbers will still change pretty drastically during this time, however. The same set of predictions state that the population of Sierra Leone will be 8,046,931 in 2020, 9,719,531 in 2030, 11,403,087 in 2040 and 12,971,626 by the year 2050.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 2 minutes
One death every 6 minutes
One net migrant every 131 minutes
Net gain of one person every 3 minutes

Sierra Leone Population in 2018Source: By Magnus Ohman (World66) [CC BY-SA 1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sierra Leone Population Pyramid 2019

Sierra Leone Population by Age

There are 4,104,601 adults in Sierra Leone.

Census Years

Year Date
201518 December 2015
20044 December 2004
198515 December 1985
Official NameRepublic of Sierra Leone
Languages SpokenEnglish
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude8.5-11.5
Currencies UsedSierra Leone Leone
DemonymSierra Leonean
Name Population Location
Freetown802,639Map
Bo174,354Map
Kenema143,137Map
Koidu88,000Map
Makeni87,679Map
Lunsar22,461Map
Port Loko21,308Map
Waterloo19,750Map
Kabala17,948Map
Segbwema16,532Map
Magburaka14,915Map
Kailahun14,085Map
Binkolo13,867Map
Freetown13,768Map
Bumpe13,580Map
Rokupr12,504Map
Gandorhun12,288Map
Kambia11,520Map
Yengema11,221Map
Gandorhun10,678Map

Sierra Leone Population Clock

The population of Sierra Leone (as of 8/20/2019)?7,835,859
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2019)7,813,215
Births Per Day702
Deaths Per Day247
Net Migrations Per Day -11
Net Change Per Day 444
Population Change Since January 1st103,008

Sierra Leone Population Estimator

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Estimate as of August 20th 2019 is: 7,835,649

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20197,813,21549.89%50.11%108.911032.13%
20187,650,15049.88%50.12%106.641032.16%
20177,488,42349.86%50.14%104.381032.18%
20167,328,83449.85%50.15%102.161032.19%
20157,171,91449.83%50.17%99.971052.25%
20106,415,63449.76%50.24%89.431052.59%
20055,645,62449.69%50.32%78.701074.25%
20004,584,57149.60%50.40%63.911131.27%
19954,303,95749.49%50.51%59.99116-0.07%
19904,319,76249.38%50.62%60.211122.57%
19853,805,31149.28%50.72%53.041132.35%
19803,388,49549.19%50.81%47.231132.21%
19753,037,15449.11%50.89%42.341162.04%
19702,744,89149.06%50.94%38.261151.82%
19652,508,21949.00%51.00%34.961121.59%
19602,317,63648.96%51.04%32.311111.36%
19552,165,81548.94%51.06%30.191111.19%
19502,041,20348.98%51.02%28.451100.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20207,976,98349.91%50.09%111.191030.00%
20258,805,82149.97%50.03%122.751022.00%
20309,648,69150.01%49.99%134.50981.84%
203510,497,56350.02%49.98%146.33961.70%
204011,338,66150.02%49.98%158.05901.55%
204512,160,74650.00%50.00%169.51901.41%
205012,944,87349.95%50.05%180.44871.26%
205513,677,10349.90%50.10%190.65871.11%
206014,345,79049.83%50.17%199.97860.96%
206514,941,44449.75%50.25%208.27840.82%
207015,453,53349.67%50.33%215.41840.68%
207515,875,04249.58%50.42%221.29840.54%
208016,204,82849.49%50.51%225.88850.41%
208516,444,59749.40%50.60%229.22840.29%
209016,598,99049.31%50.69%231.38840.19%
209516,672,15849.22%50.78%232.40820.09%
  1. Statistics Sierra Leone
  2. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 1963, 1974, 1985, 2004 and 2015 censuses, adjusted for underenumeration and with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration. Population structures by age and sex from the 2007 CWIQ, 2010 MICS4, and the 2008 and 2013 DHS were also considered.

  3. GeoNames Gazetteer