Mauritania Population 2020

4,619,487

Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in the Maghreb region of western North Africa bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. Its name comes from the Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which existed in modern-day Morocco. Mauritania has an estimated 2020 population of 4.65 million, which ranks 127th in the world.

Mauritania Area and Population Density

Mauritania's estimated population as of 2017 was 4.42 million, but this is a fairly rough estimate as the last official census took place in 1988 and found a population of 1.86 million. The country is located along the North Atlantic coast of Africa, and it shares borders with Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. Mauritania is the 27th largest country in the world, covering 397,700 square miles (1.03 million square kilometers) of surface area. Despite its size, Mauritania is one of the world's least densely populated countries with just 10 people per square mile (4 people per square kilometer), which ranks 186th in the world, despite being the 21st largest country, with a size comparable to Egypt.

Largest Cities in Mauritania

Just under 60% of the people living in Mauritania reside in or around a major city. The capital of the country, Nouakchott, is the largest in the country by far with over one million people living there. Nouakchott also serves as Mauritania's administrative and economic centers. The next largest city is Nouadhibou with only 73,000, but 100,000 in the great metro area. The cities of Néma and Kaédi have population sizes comparable to Nouadhibou.

Mauritania Demographics

In 2011, it was estimated that Mauritania's population is 30% Arab (Berber and Beidane/Moors), 30% Black (non-Arabized), which includes the Fula, Toucouleur, Bambara, Soninke, Serer, and Haratin people, and 40% mixed. There are several ethnic groups: the Moors (white or Arab), the Haratins, who are descendants of freed Sub-Saharan black slaves, the Soninke, the Serer, who are farmers and breeders, and the Fulas, which includes farmers and nomadic stock-breeders.

Several black ethnic groups, particularly the Fula and Soninke, are often discriminated against in terms of access to loans, employment, and justice. Slavery still exists in Mauritania, and it was not made illegal to own slaves until 2007. It is believed that, in 2012, between 10 and 20% of the population of Mauritania (or up to 680,000 people) lived in slavery.

3/4 of the country being desert or semi-desert. Due to extended droughts, this desert region is expanding in size. While Mauritania has many natural resources, it has one of Africa's lowest GDP rates and most of its population depends on agriculture and livestock, although droughts have forced many nomads and farmers into the cities.

Mauritania Religion, Economy and Politics

Strongly influenced by Sufism or Islamic mysticism, most all people in Mauritania practice Sunni Islam of Maliki school of jurisprudence. Official numbers say that 100% of the population is Muslim, however, it is known that there are small pockets of Christians and Jews throughout the country. Although Islam is not the official state religion, there are laws in place that forbid Muslims to convert to other religions in accordance with Sharia Law. Non-Islamic religious texts are restricted and children are required to have some religious education in school. Mauritania is considered to be the 12th most religiously restrictive country in the world.

Agriculture and livestock are the livelihood of most people in Mauritania. There has been significant foreign investment in the country based on its oil reserves in recent years, but close to half of the population still lives in poverty. There is a significant amount of iron ore in Mauritania, which account for half of their exports, but the demand for it has been slowly decreasing. Waters on the coast are some of the best for fishing in the world, but they are largely run over by foreigners trying to make their own profits. Corruption, drought, and financial mismanagement over the years has put Mauritania in significant debt.

Mauritania Population History

Arab people have been inhabiting the land that is now Mauritania since at least the third century. They were likely the only group living there until the 1500s when Europeans began settling the area, with the French eventually gaining control in the mid-1800s. Mauritania became a self-governing state in 1958 and gained full independence by 1960

Mauritania is considered slavery's last stronghold. It became the last country in the world to abolish slavery in 1981, but up to 20% of the population still lives in slavery. Slavery was again outlawed in 2007, although it is likely still practiced in some areas. 44% of the country's population lives on less than $2 per day.

Mauritania Population Growth

Like many impoverished nations, the birth rate in Mauritania is almost double the worldwide average, leading to an extreme annual growth rate. As of 2019, the population of Mauritania was increasing 2.67% each year, which is extremely high considering the economic and political conditions in the country, yet relatively low when you look at years past. The rate of growth is pretty much exclusively because 4.67 children are being born to the average Mauritanian woman, as the country has consistently had more people immigrate away from the country than migrate into it. Measures are being taken to increase education about family planning and contraceptives, but it takes many years for these kinds of efforts to take a stronghold.

Mauritania Population Projections

Fortunately, it is expected that there will be something of a significant drop in the population growth rate in Mauritania in the years to come. Current projections believe that the annual growth rate will peak in 2020 around 2.72% before dropping nearly an entire percentage point by 2050. Despite this large drop, it is likely that the population will still come close to doubling during this time. If these predictions are to believed, the population of Mauritania will be close to 4,783,767 by 2020, 6,076,668 by 2030, 7,482,408 by 2040 and 8,965,000 by 2050.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 3 minutes
One death every 16 minutes
One net migrant every 111 minutes
Net gain of one person every 4 minutes

Mauritania Population in 2018Source: By ?????????? ??????????? (Alexandra Pugachevsky) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Mauritania Population Pyramid 2020

Mauritania Population by Age

There are 2,438,444 adults in Mauritania.

Census Years

Year Date
20232023
20138 April 2013
200015 November 2000
198820 April 1988

Mauritania's population is currently growing at a rate of 2.5% per year.

Official NameIslamic Republic of Mauritania
Languages SpokenArabic
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude20.00, -12.00
Currencies UsedMauritania Ouguiya
DemonymMauritanian
BordersAlgeria
Mali
Senegal
Western Sahara
Name Population Location
Nouakchott661,400Map
Nouadhibou72,337Map
Nema60,000Map
Kaedi55,374Map
Rosso48,922Map
Kiffa40,281Map
Zouerate38,000Map
Atar24,021Map
Tekane22,041Map
Selibaby18,424Map
Aleg15,211Map
Aioun12,635Map
Akjoujt11,500Map
Tidjikja6,000Map

Mauritania Population Clock

The population of Mauritania (as of 4/2/2020)?4,619,487
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2020)4,649,658
Births Per Day415
Deaths Per Day89
Net Migrations Per Day13
Net Change Per Day339
Population Change Since January 1st31,527

Mauritania Population Estimator

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Estimate as of April 2nd 2020 is: 4,619,432

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20204,649,65850.22%49.78%4.511272.74%
20194,525,69650.20%49.80%4.391272.78%
20184,403,31350.18%49.82%4.271272.82%
20174,282,57050.15%49.85%4.161272.86%
20164,163,53350.13%49.87%4.041282.90%
20154,046,30150.11%49.89%3.931292.98%
20103,494,19550.00%50.00%3.391322.93%
20053,024,19449.87%50.13%2.931352.83%
20002,630,21949.72%50.27%2.551372.60%
19952,313,63049.55%50.45%2.241372.61%
19902,034,34649.65%50.35%1.971402.71%
19851,780,03049.65%50.35%1.731402.93%
19801,540,64049.64%50.36%1.491402.97%
19751,330,59849.62%50.38%1.291413.02%
19701,146,78049.62%50.38%1.111413.07%
1965985,91049.58%50.42%0.961423.00%
1960850,38449.49%50.51%0.831422.87%
1955738,29949.33%50.67%0.721432.53%
1950651,43649.16%50.84%0.631420.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20204,649,65850.22%49.78%4.511270.00%
20255,290,94950.29%49.71%5.131252.62%
20305,967,16850.34%49.66%5.791192.43%
20356,680,81650.36%49.64%6.481152.29%
20407,432,08350.35%49.65%7.211132.15%
20458,215,47150.34%49.66%7.971112.02%
20509,024,89250.31%49.69%8.761061.90%
20559,850,46850.27%49.73%9.56991.77%
206010,684,05650.22%49.78%10.37961.64%
206511,521,24150.17%49.83%11.18951.52%
207012,360,69250.12%49.88%11.99921.42%
207513,194,40550.06%49.94%12.80911.31%
208014,020,10250.00%50.00%13.60891.22%
208514,827,59749.94%50.06%14.39881.13%
209015,607,69149.88%50.12%15.14861.03%
209516,356,33249.83%50.17%15.87840.94%
  1. National Statistics Office
  2. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 1977, 1988, 2000 and 2013 censuses adjusted for underenumeration, and with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration.

  3. GeoNames Gazetteer