Nearly nine out of ten residents live in cities, most in the capital Libreville, in the port city of Port-Gentil or in the mining towns of Moanda and Masuku (Franceville). Especially the central and northeastern parts of the country are very sparsely populated. There are more than 40 people in Gabon, most of whom are Bantu people.
Population growth has slowed somewhat during the 2000s and is now moderately measured by African dimensions.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Gabon, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The largest group, fang, constitutes about a third of the population and lives mainly in the northern part of the country. The Bongo family, which has held the presidential power since 1967, comes from the small population group of téké in the southeast. The different peoples have their own languages and their own culture. The boundaries of their areas of residence are not as clear as in some other African countries and many groups are scattered throughout the country. The contact between the groups is mostly good and mixed marriage is common.
In the northeast there are small waste of the peoples who used to be called pygmies (for example, aka, efe, mbuti and twee). They usually live the same way they have done for hundreds of years. There are also pygmies elsewhere in the country. What they have in common is that they live alongside the rest of society. They are often extremely poor and exploited as underpaid labor by other ethnic groups.
There are around 150,000 immigrants in the country, most from neighboring countries, especially Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. The situation of immigrants is exposed. They are also often exploited as cheap labor and harassed by the security service. Many, who were initially forced to pay hefty fees for the journey from poorer and perhaps troubled homelands, risk being rejected. The Gabonese authorities have expressed concern over a growing illegal immigration.
In Gabon there are also some tens of thousands of Europeans, mostly French.
The official language is French, which acts as a cohesive force between the various ethnic groups. The well-educated often speak a French like in Paris, while most speak a French colored by the local languages. In everyday use, mainly the native languages, such as prisoners in the north and various bantu dialects in the south, although more and more young people prefer French.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
some 40 bantu people, of which fang is the largest; minorities of mérié, mede, bakota, myéné and others
Number of residents
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
89.0 percent (2017)
29.5 per 1000 residents (2016)
7.6 per 1000 residents (2016)
2.3 percent (2017)
3.8 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
48.6 percent (2017)
66 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
68 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
65 years (2016)
official language is French; a variety of native languages are also spoken
Bongo becomes PDG leader
President Ali Ben Bongo is appointed chairman of the ruling party PDG.
New opposition party
A new opposition party, the National Union (UN), is formed with André Mba Obame as one of the leaders.