Browse the information below for demographic information on Somalia, including population,
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Nationality: Noun--Somali(s). Adjective--Somali.
Population (July 2001 est., no census exists): 7,488,773 (of which an estimated 2-3 million in Somaliland).
Annual growth rate (2001 est.): 3.48%.
Ethnic groups: 85% Somali, 15% non-Somali (Bantu and Arabs).
Religion: 99.9% Muslim.
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English.
Education: Literacy--total population that can read and write, 24%: male 36%; female 14%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--123.97/1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth--total population: 46.6yrs.
Work force (3.7 million; very few are skilled workers): Pastoral nomad--60%. Agriculture, government, trading, fishing, industry, handicrafts, and other--40%.
People of Somalia
As early as the seventh century A.D., indigenous Cushitic peoples began to mingle with Arab and Persian traders who had settled along the coast. Interaction over the centuries led to the emergence of a Somali culture bound by common traditions, a single language, and the Islamic faith.
Today, about 60% of all Somalis are nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists who raise cattle, camels, sheep, and goats. About 25% of the population are settled farmers who live mainly in the fertile agricultural zone between the Juba and Shebelle Rivers in southern Somalia. The remainder of the population (15%-20%) is urban.
Sizable ethnic groups in the country include Bantu agricultural workers, several thousand Arabs and some hundreds of Indians and Pakistanis. Nearly all inhabitants speak the Somali language, which remained unwritten until October 1973, when the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) proclaimed it the nation's official language and decreed an orthography using Latin letters. Somali is now the language of instruction in schools, to the extent that these exist. Arabic, English, and Italian also are used extensively.