In 2019, the Central African Republic had an average
population density of 8 residents per km2, but
the population is unevenly distributed, with a strong
concentration to the western parts, while the eastern is
very sparsely populated.
Countryaah, 41 percent of the population lives in cities. The capital
Bangui is the clearly dominant city with 734,400 residents
(2013). Other cities include Bimbo (267 390).
For information on life expectancy and other demographic
statistics, see Country facts.
The population of the Central African Republic is made up
of some 20 ethnic groups, most of whom feed on hake farming
supplemented by hunting and river fishing. Cassava is the
base crop, and is also grown for its own use corn, peanuts
and millet. The largest groups are gangs (236,000) and
related groups in the central parts of the country, baya or
gbaya (256,000) in the west, and the culturally closely
related nzakara (65,000) and azande (81,000) in the
southeast. Banda and baya traditionally lived in acephal
communities, while nzakara and azande formed the kingdom
under the leadership of the respective bandiya and avongar
In the south, along the Oubangui River, ngbandi, a
smaller group of fishermen and traders, lives, among others.
includes sango (422,000), whose language has become lingua
franca in the country and is now national language. The
traditional religion of these peoples is based on faith, and
witchcraft plays an important role - even if the majority
are nominally Christian.
In the country's southwestern forest area live smaller
bantu groups, as well as acapygmies (about 20,000), which
feed on hunting and gathering. Other, little-known pygmy
groups also live within the country's borders, such as
buraka (3,300), banziri (1,800) and gundi (14,000).
In the north, various Muslim groups live, among others.
Runga (28,000), whose political loyalty is primarily to
local Sultans. Large areas in the north-eastern part of the
country are virtually uninhabited as a result of slave hunts
from the Principality of Bornu, Bagirmi, Wadai and Darfur in
Chad and Sudan in the 18th and 19th centuries. Around
Bambari and Bouar there are groups of mbororofulanians
(56,000), who are Muslims and feed themselves as nomadic
In the cities, there is a significant element of Muslim
immigrant groups from the north, primarily Arabs (100,000)
from Chad and Hausa (32,000) from Nigeria. They are mainly
engaged in trade and transport and to a certain extent
dominate the economy at the local level.
In the Central African Republic, about 70 languages are
spoken, most of which belong to the adamawa-unabridged
branch of the Niger-Congo language. About fifteen languages
belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family. Official
languages are French and since 1991 according to the
constitution also sango, which is a Creole language based on
the Ubangi language ngbandi and commonly used as a lingua
franca. Compare Ethnography above.
In recent decades, the number of Christians has increased
rapidly, and a clear majority of the population (about 50%)
are now (1999) Christian, mainly Protestants. The number of
Muslims is limited to about 15% (1999). President Bokassa's
transition to Islam in 1976 had no positive effect on the
spread of Islam. Domestic religion is still practiced by a
large part of the population even though they are nominally