There is an ethnic, religious and cultural dividing line between northern and southern Chad. In the north, Arabs and Islam dominate religion. In the south belong the majority of African peoples who profess Christianity or traditional indigenous religions.
In the country there are about 200 different ethnic groups, of which the Arabs are the largest. The second largest group is the Sara people in the south. Sara is a summary designation for ten closely related groups who speak Nilosaharian languages.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Chad, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
In the sparsely populated northern Chad also live small groups of Berber and Tuaregs. Many of the Norwegians are nomads who move freely in the Sahara, regardless of national borders. In the Sahel region of central Chad, semi-nomadic livestock breeders live, mostly Arabs. There are also Hausa people and groups who speak Nilosaharian languages. The population groups that inhabit southern Chad are resident and are mostly engaged in agriculture. Here, some groups speak Afro-Asian languages, others Nilosaharic languages. French and Arabic are official languages throughout the country.
The population is increasing rapidly. Birth rates are among the highest in the world. Nearly half of the residents are under 15 years of age. Three out of four Chadians live in the countryside.
Contradictions between different peoples groups and regions have led to three decades of civil war or political violence (see Modern History). The fighting has directly or indirectly claimed the lives of 200,000 to 400,000 people, and tens of thousands of Chadians have been forced to become refugees in their own country. In addition, Chad has received many refugees from neighboring countries. From 2003 onwards, hundreds of thousands came from the conflict-affected province of Darfur in Sudan, the fighting in the Central African Republic in 2012-2013 drove tens of thousands across the border to Chad and in recent years many Nigerians have moved to Chad from northern Nigeria where the brutal Islamist movement Boko Haram ravages. Boko Haram also raids Chad in the west around Lake Chad, resulting in new internal refugee flows. In 2015, the UN Refugee Agency estimated that there were at least half a million refugees in Chad. The refugees are gathered in camps which are often located in inaccessible areas of the country.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Arabs, sara and a host of smaller groups
Number of residents
14 899 994 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
22.9 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
43.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
13.0 per 1000 residents (2016)
3.0 percent (2017)
5.9 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
49.9 percent (2017)
53 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
54 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
52 years (2016)
French and Arabic are official languages; about 100 local languages and dialects are also spoken.