Benin Demographics

What is the population of Benin?

Population 12,864,634
Population - note 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of the population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Population Growth Rate 2.84%
Urban Population 44.9%
Population in Major Urban Areas COTONOU (seat of government) 924,000; PORTO-NOVO (capital) 314,000
Nationality Noun Beninese (singular and plural)
Nationality Adjective Beninese
Ethnic Groups African 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans 5,500
Languages Spoken French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in the south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in the north)

Benin Health Information

What are the health conditions in Benin?

Animal Contact Disease (s) Rabies
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 12.9%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 8.59
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 69.1%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 23.9%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 84.5%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.6%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 1.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 3,100
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .5
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 55.15
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 61.76
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 58.54
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk Very high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 350
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 20
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 6%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 60,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .06
Respiratory disease (s) Meningococcal meningitis
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 85.7%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 25.3%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 5.1%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 5.13
Underweight - percent of children under five years 20.2%
Vectorborne Disease (s) Dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever

Benin Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Benin?

Life Expectancy at Birth 60 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 62 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 59 Years
Median Age 17 Years
Median Age - female 18 Years
Median Age - male 17 Years

Benin Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Benin median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 37
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 8.59
Median Age 17 Years
Median Age - female 18 Years
Median Age - male 17 Years
Population Growth Rate 2.84%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.02
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .67

Benin Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Benin?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities in Benin are limited and not all medicines are available. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. Not all medicines and prescription drugs available in Benin are USFDA-approved. U.S. citizens should be prepared to pay for medical services, including consultations and tests before medical advice or treatment is received. Credit cards are not accepted.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Malaria is a serious risk to travelers to Benin.

Benin Education

What is school like in Benin?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 5.3%
Literacy - female 22.6%
Literacy - male 46.4%
Literacy - total population 34.7%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 9 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 13 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 11 Years

Benin Literacy

Can people in Benin read?

Literacy - female 22.6%
Literacy - male 46.4%
Literacy - total population 34.7%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in the south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in the north)

Benin Crime

Is Benin a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Street crime is a significant problem in Cotonou. Robbery and muggings occur along the Boulevard de France (the beach road by the Marina and Novotel Hotels), on the beaches near hotels frequented by international visitors, and within the Haie Vive and Les Cocotiers neighborhoods (where many bars and restaurants frequented by expatriates are located), in addition to other parts of the city. Most of the reported incidents involve the use of force, often by armed persons, with an occasional minor injury to the victim. Travelers should avoid isolated and poorly lit areas and should not walk around the city or the beaches between dusk and dawn. U.S. diplomatic personnel are prohibited from visiting the Dantokpa market between the hours of dusk and dawn. Even during daylight hours, foreigners on the beach near Cotonou are frequently victims of robberies. When visiting the beach, travelers should not carry valuables and should carry only a photocopy of their passport. If you are a victim of a crime, you should contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.

There has been a continued increase in the number of robberies after dark, both within metropolitan Cotonou and on highways and rural roads outside of major metropolitan areas. Motorists are urged to be wary of the risk of carjacking in both urban and rural areas. Keep the windows of your vehicle rolled up and the doors locked, and stay alert for signs of suspicious behavior by other motorists or pedestrians that may lead to carjacking, such as attempts to stop a moving vehicle for no obvious reason. Motorists should be aware of obstacles or obstructions, such as branches, tires, or ropes, that would-be robbers place in the roadway in an effort to ambush victims. Travelers should avoid driving outside the city of Cotonou after dark and should exercise extreme caution when driving inside of Cotonou after dark (see Traffic Safety and Road Conditions below). Overland travel to Nigeria is dangerous near the Benin/Nigeria border due to unofficial checkpoints and highway banditry.

Travelers should exercise extreme caution when using credit cards and automated teller machines (ATMs) in Benin due to a high rate of fraud. Perpetrators of business and other kinds of fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. While such fraud schemes in the past have been largely associated with Nigeria, they are now prevalent throughout West Africa, including Benin, and are more frequently perpetrated by Beninese criminals. Business scams are not always easy to recognize, and any unsolicited business proposal should be carefully scrutinized.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Over the previous three years, there have been numerous pirate attacks off the coast of Benin. The attacks have been focused on oil tanker ships, not container ships or other types of vessels. It is unlikely that any tourist would become a victim of piracy, but be cautious if approached by an unknown vessel while at sea. If you spot any suspected pirates, do not approach them; immediately contact port officials, local police, and the U.S. Embassy.

Benin Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Benin, you are subject to its laws and regulations even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Benin Population Comparison

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