The total population of Sudan has considerably increased over the last decades, reaching 40.2 million in 2015, compared to 28 million in 2000.[1] Due to protracted conflicts, a referendum took place from 9 to 15 January 2011 and resulted the secession of southern Sudan. As such, the statistics on Sudan should take into consideration pre-2011 versus post-2011 levels. The population growth rate averaged at 2.2% for the past fifteen years.[1] The population is young with 88.1% of the total population below the age of 30 and the fertility rate at 4.2 births per woman.[1] The majority of Sudan's population is rural, with an urban population of just 33.6% in 2014.[4] The maternal mortality in Sudan is high, it reached 311 per 100,000 live births in 2015, two times higher than the regional average of 156 per 100,000 live births.[2]

Sudan is a lower-middle-income[5] and low-income food-deficit country[6] with 46.5% of the population living below the national poverty line[2] and 53.1% considered as multi-dimensionally poor in 2010.[7] As a result of the ongoing violence in Sudan, 5.4 million people were targeted for humanitarian assistance in 2015.[8] By the end of 2015, Sudan was home to 3.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 379,378 refugees, asylum-seekers and others of concern.[9] In 2014, Sudan was the origin country of 665,908 refugees.[3] Almost 2 million children under the age of five were suffering from malnutrition in 2015.[10]

The adult literacy rate in Sudan was 75.9% of the total population in 2015. [11] Gross enrollment rates in Sudan fall far below the regional averages. The primary enrollment rate leveled at 69.1% in 2012, compared to a regional average of 102.8 in 2013. Tertiary enrollment rate reached 16.9% in 2013, compared to 28.1% regional average in 2013. Gender Parity Index (GPI) at the primary level scored 0.9 in 2012 and 1.1 in 2013 at the tertiary level.[2]

Driven by agriculture, which assumes 28.6% of GDP in 2015 [2], Sudan’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) leveled at Int$ 158 billion [2] and a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of Int$ 4,080 in 2015[2]. The secession with South Sudan in 2011, taking away three-quarters of the country’s oil production and half of its fiscal revenues, caused a structural shock to the Sudanese economy and real GDP growth (constant 2005 prices) contracted by 1.3% and 3.4% in 2011 and 2012, respectively.[13] The economy started recovering in 2013 and real GDP growth averaged at 3.6% over the last three years.[10] Fiscal consolidation and tight monetary policy helped reduce inflation to 19.8% 2015, down from 35.6% in 2012.[13][14] Driven by the Government’s fiscal reforms, tax revenues rose to 77.7% of Government revenues in 2015, up from 49.1% of Government revenues in 2011.[15] The fiscal deficit decreased from 3.3% of GDP in 2012 to 1.1% of GDP in 2014, and rose again to 1.2% in 2015.[13] Given that Sudan retained the entire debt burden following the secession with South Sudan, the public debt reached a high value of 94.8% of GDP in 2012, dropping down to 68.9% of GDP in 2015.[13]

In 2014, International trade-to-GDP ratio scored low at 19 down from 29 in 2000, trade in services amounted to almost 5% Sudan’s GDP, and external balance scored a deficit of 5 billion US dollar.[3] Sudan’s main exports consist of crude oil and petroleum, while top imports include manufactured goods and transport equipment. Sudan is a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) and only an observer in the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is also a member of the Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU), which was established by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen since 1964. The Preferential Trade Agreement between Sudan and Ethiopia entered into force in 2003.

The labor force participation rate in Sudan remained stable over the 2000-2015 period, ranging between 52.1% and 48.1%. The labor force participation rate for men (72.2%) was however around three times bigger than that of women (24.3%) in 2015.[16] The total unemployment rate was estimated at 13.6% in 2015. Unemployment is higher for women and youth than for the other population categories. Women unemployment rate registered 19.6% compared to 11.5% for men in 2015.[16] Youth unemployment rate stood at 22.5% in 2015 with the biggest burden falling on young women, where their unemployment rate registered 32.4% compared to 18.7% for young men in 2015.[16]

Before the split between Sudan and South Sudan in 2011, the country was one of the largest oil producers but not a member in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Africa. Since 2011, Sudan and South Sudan's production declined with most of the oil production capacity being in South Sudan, but it remained dependent on Sudan as it must use the country’s export pipelines and port. Crude oil production in these two countries accounted for 41 million barrels in 2012, down from 165.4 million barrels in 2011. This quantity almost doubled in 2014 to reach 94.6 million barrels.[17] Net oil exports witnessed a huge decline from 132.5 million barrels in 2011 to 7.8 million barrels in 2012.[18] Net oil exports increased again in 2013 but remained below the level of 2011.


This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016. 


  1. World Population Prospects, Population Division, United Nations
  2. The World Bank, World Development Indicators
  3. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  4. World Urbanization Prospects, Population Division, United Nations
  5. The World Bank, country overview
  6. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2015
  7. UNDP Human Development Report 2015
  8. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 2015, “Humanitarian Response Plan
  9. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
  10. UNICEF
  11. UNESCO Institute for Statistic
  12. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Bank of Sudan
  13. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  14. Press Release: IMF Staff Concludes Visits to Sudan, International Monetary Fund
  15. Sudan Central Bureau of Statistics
  16. KILM – International Labour Organization (ILO)
  17. International Energy Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
  18. ADP calculations based on data extracted from the International Energy Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration(EIA)

Sudan Statistical Snapshot 2016
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Data Highlighted

  • The majority of Sudan's population is rural, with an urban population of just 34% in 2016.

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