Eritrea Demographics

What is the population of Eritrea?

Population 6,081,196
Population Growth Rate 2.36%
Urban Population 21.3%
Population in Major Urban Areas ASMARA (capital) 712,000
Nationality Noun Eritrean(s)
Nationality Adjective Eritrean
Ethnic Groups ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%
Languages Spoken Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Language Note Eritrea has no official language. Tigrinya, Arabic and English are all government, working languages. Tigrinya is spoken by highlanders, and is related to Tigre, spoken by people in the western and eastern lowlands. They use an ancient Ge'ez script. Like Arabic, they are both Semitic tongues. Arabic is widely used in commerce.

Eritrea Learning

What is school like in Eritrea?


Ten years after the independence of Eritrea, the government started investing enormously in the educational sector. Recent surveys have concluded that school enrollment in Eritrea has increased to more than 200% as compared to the rate of enrollment 5 years ago. Although many schools in the countryside are below average level, most urban schools are of modern architecture and provide students with reasonable environments for learning. However, most Eritrean schools lack modern scientific laboratories and other experimental tools that are the cornerstone of a successful education process. Moreover, a high percentage of Eritrean schools don’t have adequate computers to serve their students’ needs. A few schools across Eritrea offer their students Internet access on campus. Eritrean students have to wear school uniforms that differ according to the level of education.


Education in Eritrea is divided into Pre-Primary, Primary, Middle and Secondary sectors. Starting from grade 5, all subjects are studied in the English language. Education programs accept children at the age of five and start with two years of behavioral and social adjustment that are usually preparing for the upcoming years of elementary education. During the 5 year period of elementary education, students study mathematics, history, geography, biography, music, art and physical education. Thereafter, students will attend 2 years of middle school during which they will study the same elementary school subjects, but in more details. Finally, students will have to go secondary school for 4 years. During secondary school, Eritrean students study English, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Civics, Biology, History and Geography. Although boys and girls got to schools in Eritrea, boys usually receive more care than girls do. Most girls don’t finish their secondary education as they are usually married before they reach the age of 15.

To School

Some Eritrean children go to their schools on foot, while others ride local buses to their schools. Cycling is a common sport in Eritrea and some students ride their bikes to school. A smaller percentage of Eritrean parents drive their children to school; however, this is uncommon as most Eritrean families can’t afford buying a car.

Eritrea Health Information

What are the health conditions in Eritrea?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 8%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 7.78
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 56.7%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 39.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 73.7%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 2.6%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.8%
HIV/Aids Deaths 1,200
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .7
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 33.97
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 44.63
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 39.38
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 240
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 20.6
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.5%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 25,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .05
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 86.8%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 51.6%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 3.5%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 4.25
Underweight - percent of children under five years 34.5%
Vectorborne Disease (s) malaria and dengue fever

Eritrea Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Eritrea?

Life Expectancy at Birth 63 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 65 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 61 Years
Median Age 18 Years
Median Age - female 19 Years
Median Age - male 18 Years

Eritrea Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Eritrea median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 31
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 7.78
Median Age 18 Years
Median Age - female 19 Years
Median Age - male 18 Years
Population Growth Rate 2.36%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .98
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .79

Eritrea Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Eritrea?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities and physicians in Eritrea are limited. In 2010, the Eritrean government closed all private medical clinics and laboratories. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventative medicines because pharmaceuticals may be in short supply. Food and water-borne illnesses are very common among travelers, so drink only bottled or purified water and eat foods that are cooked or peeled. Malaria and dengue fever are serious risks to travelers in the lowlands of Eritrea, particularly during the rainy season (November to February). One of the worst dengue fever outbreaks in recent Eritrean history occurred during the winter of 2009-10 in Massawa. Asmara, because of its altitude, is generally considered free of these mosquito-borne illnesses. Travelers to the lowlands are urged to carry mosquito repellent and mosquito nets, especially during the rainy season.

Eritrea Education

What is school like in Eritrea?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 2.1%
Literacy - female 47.6%
Literacy - male 69.9%
Literacy - total population 58.6%
Literacy Definition NA
School Life Expectancy - female 4 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 5 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 4 Years

Eritrea Literacy

Can people in Eritrea read?

Literacy - female 47.6%
Literacy - male 69.9%
Literacy - total population 58.6%
Literacy Definition NA
Predominant Language Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages

Eritrea Crime

Is Eritrea a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Crime in Asmara has increased due to deteriorating economic conditions along with persistent food, water, and fuel shortages, and rapid price inflation. Travelers should exercise vigilance in their personal security and take safety precautions regarding the valuables they carry and areas they visit. Eritrean authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate crime or prosecute perpetrators.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law. Do not attempt to take advantage of street or black market exchange in foreign currency. It is illegal and there are extremely stiff penalties. Utilize government exchange at the airport, hotel, or bank.

Eritrea Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are in Eritrea, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems are vastly different than our own. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or identification with you. It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail, as could a traffic accident, whether or not you are at fault. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States; for example you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods in Eritrea, even if you are not prosecuted in Eritrea.

Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Eritrea, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

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

Arrest notifications in Eritrea: Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Eritrea, 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. However, in Eritrea, contrary to the Vienna Convention, such requests are not generally granted.

Eritrea Population Comparison

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