Gabon/People

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Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin. Gabon has at least 40 ethnic groups, with separate languages and cultures. The largest is the Fang. Other ethnic groups include the Myene, Bandjabi, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke/Obamba, and Okande. Ethnic group boundaries are less sharply drawn in Gabon than elsewhere in Africa. French, the official language, is a unifying force. More than 10,000 French people live in Gabon, and France predominates foreign cultural and commercial influences. Historical and environmental factors caused Gabon's population to decline between 1900 and 1940. It is one of the least-densely inhabited countries in Africa, and a labor shortage is a major obstacle to development and a draw for foreign workers. The population is generally accepted to be just over 1 million but remains in dispute.

Population: 1,208,436
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 33% (male 201,737; female 200,764)
15-64 years: 61% (male 371,359; female 364,982)
65 years and over: 6% (male 34,478; female 35,116) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.08% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 27.6 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 16.83 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.98 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 96.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 50.08 years
male: 48.94 years
female: 51.26 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.73 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese

Ethnic groups: Bantu tribes including four major tribal groupings (Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke), other Africans and Europeans 154,000, including 6,000 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality

Religions: Christian 55%-75%, Muslim less than 1%, animist

Languages: French (official), Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 63.2%
male: 73.7%
female: 53.3% (1995 est.)