Djibouti’s population has been increasing steadily across the years, reaching 971,410 in 2018. The population growth rate averaged at 1.5%, compared to 2.5% in the year 2000. The majority of the population is urban, with 77.8% of the total population living in urban areas in 2018.[1] 

The population below the age of 24 in Djibouti made up 52.6% of the total population in 2015, with a fertility rate of 3.1 children per woman for the same year.[2]

Life expectancy reached 61.6 years in 2015 much below the Arab regional average of 70.6 years.[2] Similarly, the maternal mortality of 229 per 100,000 live births in 2015 is worse than the regional average of 156 per 100,000 live births.[3]

According to the most recent survey data that is publicly available, 34.6% of the population were estimated as multi-dimensionally poor, while an additional 18.5% lived near multidimensional poverty.[4] In 2018, 42% of the population were living in absolute poverty, 83% of which live in rural areas, based on the most recent WFP figures.[5]

Djibouti’s adult literacy rate leveled at 49.5% in 2012, which is considered low compared to a regional average of 80.5% in 2015. However, Djibouti has made significant strides in its enrollment rates. The primary gross enrollment rate doubled between 2000 and 2017, increasing from 31.1% in 2000 to 61.3% 2017[6], with an increase in the Gender Parity Index (GPI) from 0.7 to 0.9 for the same years. At the same time, the tertiary enrollment rate rose from 0.3% in 2000 to 5.0% in 2011, while the GPI decreased from 0.9 to 0.7 between 2000 and 2011.[3]

Djibouti is a lower-middle-income country [7] with an estimated GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) of Int$ 2.8 billion in 2014.[3] Real GDP growth rate, driven by large investment projects,[4] continued its rapid pace in 2018, with a steady increase from 3.5% in 2000 to 7.0% in 2018.[8] Given the country’s geostrategic position, the economy is mainly concentrated on transport, storage and communication with a gross value added share at 25.5% of GDP in 2014.[9] Djibouti registered consecutive fiscal deficits since 2009, reaching 4.4% of GDP in 2018, with grants constituting around 29.9% of the Government revenues.[10] In 2018, Djibouti’s debt-to-GDP ratio reached 87%.[8]

Trade accounts for a significant part of the economy in Djibouti. The international trade-to-GDP ratio is high reaching 108 in 2017, with trade in services amounted to 34.3% of GDP in 2016, with a recorded a current account deficit of 170 million US Dollar.[3]

The labor force participation rate in Djibouti increased from 48.9% in 2000 to 59% in 2018. Women labor force participation rate witnessed a higher increase, where it increased from 46.3% in 2000 to 49.5% in 2018, compared to a decrease from 77.6% in 2000 to 68.6 % in 2018 for men. Unemployment in Djibouti registered at 6.1% in 2018.[11] 

Djibouti is dependent on the imports of petroleum products to meet its needs, in 2013, total petroleum products imports accounted for 95,972 ton.[12]


This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 27 December 2018.



[1]  World Population Prospects, Population Division, United Nations

[2]  World Urbanization Prospects, Population Division, United Nations

[3]  World Development Indicators, The World Bank

[4]  UNDP Human Development Report 2018

[5]  World Food Programme (WFP), July 2018. Country Brief”

[6]  UNESCO Institute for Statistics

[7]  The World Bank

[8] International Monetary Fund (IMF)

[9] ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Bank of Djibouti

[10]  International Monetary Fund (IMF), IMF Country Report No. 17/87

[11]  KILM – International Labour Organization (ILO)\

[12] Department of Statistics and Demographic Studies (DISED)


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Data Highlighted

  • The majority of the population in Djibouti is urban, with 77% of the total population living in urban areas in 2015.

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