Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country comprised of an archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, about 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa. The name Cape Verde has been used for the archipelago in English since its independence from Portugal in 1975.
The last official census in 2013 found the population of Cape Verde was 512,000, with almost half (or 236,000) Cape Verdeans living on the main island of Santiago. Almost 35% of the country's population lives in rural areas, and the capital city Praia has about 25% of Cape Verde's citizens. Cape Verde has a fairly high population density at 124 people per square kilometer, or the 89th highest in the world.
Cape Verde Demographics
Most people of Cape Verde are Creole, or of mixed white and black descent. A genetic study of the country's inhabitants found that the population's ancestry is mostly European in the male line and West African in the female line, with a percentage of 56% African and 44% European.
People from all over the world have settled in the country, including immigrants from South America, Asia and Europe. Most settlers to the area have been Dutch, French, British, Arab, Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, South American, American and Brazilian. When it was discovered by Portugal in 1456, it was uninhabited. African slaves were then brought to the archipelago to work on plantations. This resulted in Cape Verdeans who were mulattos, or those with mixed African and European origins. Today, Cape Verde's people are very diverse ethnically.
More Cape Verdeans today live abroad rather than in the country itself. There are about 500,000 Cape Verdeans in the United States, particularly on the New England Coast. There are also large populations in Portugal (150,000), Angola (45,000), Sao Tome and Principe (25,000), Senegal (25,000), the Netherlands (20,000), France (25,000), Spain (12,500), Luxembourg (7,000), and elsewhere.
There are about 25,000 immigrants in Cape Verde now, as the country is stable, grants freedoms to its people and has a fairly high per capita income.
About 95% of Cape Verdeans are Christian, and over 85% of the population is Roman Catholic. Cape Verde shares the highest life expectancy in Africa with two other nations at 71 for men and 79 for women.
Cape Verde Population Growth
Cape Verde's growth over the last few years has been fueled by tourism and a stable economy. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, tourism in the country grew 28%, which was more than the world's average of 4%. Cape Verde is expected to continue its steady growth for the next two decades.