Accurate South Sudan population statistics are difficult to obtain, a fact which is probably not surprising when you consider that it only gained independence from Sudan on the 9th of July 2011, and is one of the world’s newest countries.
A 2008 census showed that the population of South Sudan was 8,260,490. However, this figure is hotly disputed because the census was conducted by the Sudanese Government of the time and is believed by many to have been manipulated for political reasons.
As the distribution of wealth between Sudan and South Sudan at the point of independence was determined in part by their relative populations, the government in Khartoum had an incentive to manipulate the figures. Additional criticisms of the 2008 Sudan population census were that it excluded the South Sudanese diaspora, that poor weather and communication conditions had prevented some people from being surveyed, and that the Sudanese Government had refused to share the raw population data from the census with the Government of South Sudan.
It is estimated that around 11% of South Sudanese people were not surveyed, which, if correct, would mean that the population of South Sudan in 2008 was around 9.28 million people. The South Sudan population in 2011 was considerably higher - perhaps as much as 10-12 million. Today, the population of 2014 is estimated to be 11.85 million.
South Sudan Demographics – More Information
There are more than 60 ethnic groups in South Sudan, including the Dinka, and also many different languages spoken. The vast majority of people in South Sudan speak one of the Nilo-Saharan languages, but the official language is English, and this is also fairly widely spoken.
Data on religion in South Sudan is also extremely limited. As well as indigenous religions, Christianity and Islam have prospered in South Sudan. The last census in South Sudan to survey religion, however, was held in the 1950s.