Sierra Leone Religion and Languages

By | March 5, 2021


Sierra Leone has a population density of 106 residents per km2. The eastern parts and the area around Freetown are densely populated. The death toll is among the highest in the world, and above all, infant mortality is high (56 per 1,000 live births). In 2019, 41 percent of the population lived in cities, of which the capital Freetown (1 million residents, 2015) is the largest.

According to Countryaah, the population of Sierra Leone is made up of more than 20 ethnic groups. The two largest are the Western Atlantic- speaking time (1.3 million) in the central parts of the country and the male -speaking people (1.6 million) in the south. Both groups are predominantly farmers with rice as a base crop. Conversion to Islam (for both groups about 35 percent) and to a lesser extent to Christianity (15 percent for religion and 5 percent for time) have given rise to conflicts within the groups.

Among the minority groups in Sierra Leone are the West Atlantic-speaking limba (353,000) in the north and sherbro (201,000) in the south as well as the male -speaking Kuranko (332,000) in the northeast. These, too, are farmers and have predominantly maintained their indigenous African religion (about 30 percent are Muslims). The Muslim, livestock- feeding fulani (61,000) are mainly found in the north.

The country’s educated elite was long dominated by the minority group krio (‘creoles’), who claim to be descended from released British slaves from Jamaica and/or from Yoruba in Nigeria. Krio (696,000) are Christians and exemplify British culture; their language is the archetype of a Creole language. 36,000 Lebanese also live in the country.


In Sierra Leone, some 20 native languages ​​are spoken, all of which belong to the Niger-Congo languages. The largest are mend (30% of the population), time (30%) and limba (8%). Krio, an English-based Creole language, is spoken as a native language of about 10% and is widely used as an inter-language language. The official language is English. Compare Population above.

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Approximately 30% of the population (1999) are followers of indigenous African religions, which are particularly strong in the eastern parts of Sierra Leone. Islam has had significant missionary successes in recent years. The Muslims (1999) make up about 60% and are found mainly in the northwest. Christianity, especially in the South and among the Creoles, has had successes. The majority of Christians are Protestants and (1999) make up about 10%.

Sierra Leone Population by Religion