Burkina Faso Demographics

What is the population of Burkina Faso?

Population 20,835,401
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 3.06%
Urban Population 26.5%
Population in Major Urban Areas OUAGADOUGOU (capital) 2.053 million
Nationality Noun Burkinabe (singular and plural)
Nationality Adjective Burkinabe
Ethnic Groups Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
Languages Spoken French (official), native African languages belonging to the Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population

Burkina Faso Learning

What is school like in Burkina Faso?

Education Culture

During the long school holiday which is usually between July and October most of the children will work on the family farm because this is mostly the rainy season. The children will join the grownups working on the farm doing such chores as planting and weeding using hoes. The girls remain to do house chores which include fetching water from a communal water pump. In some areas that are hardest hit by drought and because of hunger and malnutrition children may not go to school. In some areas, organizations run school feeding programs and kids are given two meals daily which is helping bridge the gap brought by poverty. This has helped to increase enrollment in schools in such areas. The children are given porridge (blended flour) at breakfast and lunch which improves concentration and learning capacity and help keeps children coming to school on time. School feeding is also a powerful incentive encouraging families to send children to school, rather than having them work at home or go outside to earn additional income.


School begins with a general assembly at about 7:30 a.m. and classes begin immediately thereafter. The average class has about 70 pupils. About three-quarters of the class will be boys because very few girls are allowed to attend school. The official language of the school is French and the lessons take an average of about 40 minutes each. The schools are made of bricks and the roofs are made of iron sheets which can make the class extremely hot. The only advantage may be that there are rarely any windows so the hot wind blows in the classroom bringing just a little relief.

Break time is usually the time for children to catch up with one another and for boys, they will play their usual football (soccer) matches with any makeshift balls they make themselves. There usually are not many other games to play because of lack of equipment and balls are easy to get or simply make. Because the population of students per class is quite high, many teachers do not get the time to give personal attention to the students, especially those who are weak or slow. The children in schools are also taught some practical lessons such as how to tend gardens and some students learn to grow vegetables in the school gardens.

Burkina Faso Health Information

What are the health conditions in Burkina Faso?

Animal Contact Disease (s) Rabies
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 16.2%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 12.21
Diseases - note Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 75.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 18.3%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 97.5%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.5%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 1.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 5,500
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .4
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 70.72
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 85.67
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 78.3
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk Very high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 300
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 19
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 2.3%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 110,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .05
Respiratory disease (s) Meningococcal meningitis
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 81.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 50.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 6.7%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 6
Underweight - percent of children under five years 26.2%
Vectorborne Disease (s) Dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
Water contact disease (s) Schistosomiasis

Burkina Faso Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Burkina Faso?

Life Expectancy at Birth 54 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 56 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 52 Years
Median Age 17 Years
Median Age - female 17 Years
Median Age - male 16 Years

Burkina Faso Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Burkina Faso median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 43
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 12.21
Median Age 17 Years
Median Age - female 17 Years
Median Age - male 16 Years
Population Growth Rate 3.06%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .99
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .99
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .62

Burkina Faso Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Burkina Faso?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities and emergency hospital care are very limited and of poor quality, particularly in areas outside of Ouagadougou. Emergency response services, such as ambulances, are in very short supply, poorly equipped, and in many regions simply nonexistent.

Some medicines are available through local pharmacies, though supplies can be limited and quality is inconsistent. Travelers requiring specific medicines should bring an adequate supply for the duration of their stay in Burkina Faso.

Malaria is a serious risk to travelers in Burkina Faso and can be fatal. Current medications recommended for malaria prophylaxis include Lariam (Mefloquin), Malarone (Atovaguone/Proguanil) and Doxcycline. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what anti-malarial drugs they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, including protective measures, please visit the CDC’s website.

There are vaccines not routinely given in the United States that are strongly advised before traveling to Burkina Faso. Meningitis and Yellow Fever are endemic in Burkina Faso, and cases are most frequent during the drier, dustier months of January through June. Travelers should confirm their meningitis inoculation is up to date. Tuberculosis remains a considerable health concern in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso Education

What is school like in Burkina Faso?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 3.4%
Literacy - female 16.6%
Literacy - male 36.9%
Literacy - total population 21.8%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 7 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 8 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 8 Years

Burkina Faso Literacy

Can people in Burkina Faso read?

Literacy - female 16.6%
Literacy - male 36.9%
Literacy - total population 21.8%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language French (official), native African languages belonging to the Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population

Burkina Faso Crime

Is Burkina Faso a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Crime in Burkina Faso poses some measure of risk for visitors. Recent incidents of violent crime against visitors have included harassment, robbery, sexual assault, and rape. Non-violent crimes directed against visitors have been theft, burglary, and various confidence scams. Most reported incidents involve purse-snatchers, pickpockets, and street scam artists who target wallets, jewelry, cell phones, and other valuables. Thieves are especially active during international meetings or events which draw large crowds to the capital. The areas near and around the U.N. Circle, Avenue Kwame N’Krumah, and the Central Market in Ouagadougou experience the highest incidence of street crime. Travelers should stay alert, remain in groups, and avoid poorly lit areas. Be especially cautious at night when most reported incidents have taken place.

Although violent criminals typically operate at night, there have been daytime attacks. Several attacks have been directed at intercity public buses. U.S. citizen travelers should avoid all intercity and highway travel at night. It is best to check the Embassy website for the latest security information before setting out on your journey.

Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. Recent scams that have victimized U.S. citizens have taken many forms, including fraudulent transactions for gold and antiquities. Such fraud schemes are now prevalent throughout West Africa, including Burkina Faso. The scams pose a danger of both financial loss and physical harm. A typical indicator of a business scam is the demand for advance payments on contracts. Persons contemplating business deals in Burkina Faso should contact the commercial section of the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou if they have any doubts about the legitimacy of a potential business client or partner.

Normally, fraud schemes begin with an unsolicited communication (usually by e-mail) from an unknown individual who describes a situation that promises quick financial gain, often by assisting in the transfer of a large sum of money or gold dust out of the country. A series of "advance fees" must then be paid in order to conclude the transaction. In fact, the final payoff does not exist; the purpose of the scam is simply to collect the advance fees. Common variations of this scheme involve individuals claiming to be refugees, victims of various African conflicts, or former political leaders in need of help in transferring large sums of money. Sometimes perpetrators manage to induce victims to provide bank account and credit card information, and financial authorizations that allow them to incur large debts against the victim’s credit. In some instances, victims have lost their life savings.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of advance-fee fraud is common sense. If a proposition looks too good to be true, it probably is. Research thoroughly any unsolicited business proposal originating from Burkina Faso or any other source before committing funds, providing goods or services, or undertaking travel.

Do not purchase counterfeit and pirated goods such as CDs, DVDs, or computer software even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if purchased, you may also be breaking local law.

Burkina Faso Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Burkina Faso, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. You may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. In Burkina Faso, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country; in some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in Burkina Faso, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is prosecutable in the United States. If you break the law in Burkina Faso, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what is legal and what is not wherever you go.

Persons violating Burkina Faso’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Burkina Faso can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Burkina Faso you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Burkina Faso is not a party to a bilateral agreement that requires mandatory notification.

Burkina Faso Population Comparison

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island North Macedonia Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe