Demographics of Cape Verde

Demographics of Cape Verde

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Cape Verde, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Two Cape Verdean children playing marbles.

The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited when the Portuguese discovered it in 1456. African slaves were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations. As a result, Cape Verdeans are mulattos (mestiços in Portuguese), who have mixed African and European origins. European ancestors also include Spanish and Italian seamen who were granted land by the Portuguese Empire, followed by Portuguese settlers, exiles, and Portuguese Jews who were victims of the Inquisition. Many foreigners from other parts of the world settled Cape Verde as their permanent country. Most of them were Dutch, French, British (English), Arab and Jewish (from Lebanon and Morocco), Chinese (especially from Macau), American, and Brazilian (including people of Portuguese and African descent). All of these have been absorbed into the mestiço population.

Statistics from Portuguese administration in the sixties stated that the racial composition of the inhabitants was 78% of mestiços, 21% of “Africans” (i.e. blacks) and 1% of “Europeans” (i.e. whites). Those figures have been overused in several sites, in spite of not being up to date. Since the independence in 1975 the official statistics in Cape Verde have no longer made statistics based on racial groups. Official sources[1] only states “the majority of the population is mulatto” (“…maioritariamente mestiça…”) without stating any number. Ethnically, Cape Verdeans see themselves as a single group, regardless of being mulatto, black or white.

Survival in a country with few natural resources has historically induced Cape Verdeans to emigrate. In fact, of the more than 1 million people of Cape Verdean ancestry in the world, only a little more than one-third actually live on the islands. Some 500,000 people of Cape Verdean ancestry live in the United States, mainly in New England. Many people of Cape Verdean ancestry also live in Portugal, Netherlands, France, Italy, Argentina, and Senegal. Cape Verdean populations also settled Spain, Germany, Canada, and other CPLP countries (Angola, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau). Since after independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Cape Verdean students continued to be admitted every year at Portuguese high schools, polytechnical institutes and universities, through bilateral agreements between the Portuguese Government and the Cape Verdean Government.

Although the official language is Portuguese, most Cape Verdeans speak Cape Verdean Creole (Crioulo in Portuguese, Kriolu or Kriol in Cape Verdean Creole). There is a rich repertoire of literature and songs in Creole. In religion, the majority follow Roman Catholic Christianity. There are also some Protestants, Bahá'ís and Muslims.


Demographic statistics

Demographics of Cape Verde, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.


429,474 (July 2010 est.)

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.9% (male 80,594/female 79,126)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 113,450/female 119,423)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 10,542/female 17,844) (2006 est.)
0-14 years: 35.2% (male 76,012/female 74,993)
15-64 years: 58.5% (male 123,376/female 127,653)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 10,040/female 17,400) (2010 est.)

Median age

Total: 21.1 years
Male: 20.4 years
Female: 20.9 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

0.561% (2009 est.)

Birth rate

23.5 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Death rate

6.22 deaths/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Net migration rate

-11.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)


Urban population: 60% of total population (2008)
Rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio

Pyramide Cap-Vert.PNG
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.58 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 41.35 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 47.39 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 35.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 71.61 years
Male: 68.27 years
Female: 75.05 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.54 children born/woman (2010 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: 0.035% (2001 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 775 (2001)
Deaths: 225 (as of 2001)


Noun: Cape Verdean(s)
Adjective: Cape Verdean


Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene), Buddhist 0.2%[citation needed]


Portuguese, Creole


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 76.6%
Male: 85.8%
Female: 69.2% (2003 est.)

Education expenditures

6.3% of GDP (2006)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2008 edition".

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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