Djibouti Djibouti

Statistical Snapshot



Djibouti’s population is estimated at around 1 million [1], with nearly 78 percent living in urban areas.[2] The youth population, below the age of 30, makes up 55.4 percent of the total population, and the fertility rate is around three children per woman.[1] Average life expectancy is 66.6 years, lower than the regional average of 71.8 years. Maternal mortality remains high at 248 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to the regional average of 149 per 100,000 live births.[3] 


Djibouti ranks among the low human development countries (166 out of 189) according to the 2020 Human Development Report. Djibouti has a low adult literacy rate at 52.8 percent in 2017,[1] compared to a regional average of 75.3 percent, while the average mean years of schooling is 4 years.[4] However, Djibouti has made significant progress in its enrolment rates over the last two decades. Gross primary enrolment has more than doubled between 2000 and 2020, increasing from 32.5 percent to 73.8 percent. At the same time, gross secondary enrolment rose from 14 percent in 2000 to 54.68 percent in 2020.[5]


Because of the volatile situation in neighbouring countries, Djibouti hosts 30,794 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly originating from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen, as of 2019.[6]


Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in the region with a total area of 23,200 square kilometers. Arable land makes up only 0.08 percent of the total land area and given Djibouti’s hot and dry climate, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector represents only 1.272 percent of GDP in 2019.[3] Additionally, the size of the economy limits its ability to diversify production. Hence, Djibouti largely depends on foreign markets and imports 90 percent of its food commodities, which increases the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.[7] Trade reached 288 percent of GDP in 2018, trade in services being estimated at 54 percent of GDP in 2018. Djibouti’s economy is mainly dependent on the services sector, which represented 76.4 percent of GDP in 2019.[3]



Driven by large investment projects in railway (such as the one connecting it with Addis Ababa), ports and infrastructure, real GDP grew from 1.6 percent in 2009 to 7.3 percent in 2011, to increase to 8.4 and 7.5 percent in 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, following the recent lockdown measures to avoid the spread of COVID–19, growth contracted to 1 percent in 2020, the lowest level in the last two decades.[8] The government has stepped up health and emergency spending on households and affected firms in response to the pandemic, which included measures amounting to 2.6 percent of GDP in a revised budget for 2020 and an additional 0.6 percent of GDP in the 2021 budget.[9] In 2021, GDP growth is projected to rebound to 7 percent.[8] Mainly due to loans for financing large infrastructure projects, Djibouti’s debt is estimated at 70 percent of GDP. [10] 


Djibouti remains a low-income economy with an estimated GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) of $5.627 billion in 2019.[3] The gender gap in unemployment is negligible in Djibouti, with unemployment rate registering 10.8 percent for men compared to 11.3 percent for women.[1][11]

Persistent and chronic drought and occasional flash floods are the main drivers of humanitarian needs in Djibouti. Consecutive climate shocks also have a severe impact on the lives and livelihoods. In May 2018, Djibouti was hit by the tropical cyclone Sagar, which affected around 10,000 households (about 150,000 people) with about 2,000 households being severely damaged, schools and other social infrastructure destroyed and access to sanitation, safe drinking water, and hygiene items among poor households further reduced.[12]


Consecutive climate shocks, persistent and chronic droughts and occasional flash floods are the main drivers of humanitarian needs in Djibouti, leading to severe water shortages and increasing the levels of malnutrition and food insecurity and consequently the disease outbreaks. Malnourishment prevalence is massive in rural areas, where 98 percent of the population suffer from inadequate and sufficiently varied diet, of whom 6,000 are children under age 5. According to the 2018-2022 IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Analysis, almost third of the total population suffer from food insecurity.[13]


Despite its sustained growth for the last two decades, Djibouti is still affected by poverty and inequality as 35 percent of the population lives in poverty in 2017, of whom 21 percent are in extreme poverty. In rural areas, poverty incidence is much higher affecting 62 percent of the population.[13]


More than 5,936 cumulative cases and 62 deaths were reported as of 4 February in Djibouti. Many measures were taken to contain the spread of COVID-19.[9] The Central Bank of Djibouti issued a Circular including many measure to support the country during the health crisis through providing the costumers affected by the pandemic an extension of deadlines on the commitments for a 3 months period extended to 6, deadlines are postponed without administration fees for loan and interest payments. Also, many loans are offered for companies who request with a moderate interest rate to enable them to pay salaries and suppliers etc.[14]




This overview was last updated in March 2021. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Institut de la Statistique de Djibouti. 2020. Annuaire Statistique edition. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2020. World Urbanization Prospects.2018 Revision. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[3] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[4] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human Development Report 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[5] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2020. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].

[6] United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[7] World Food Programme (WFP). December 2019. Djibouti country brief. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[8] International Monetary Fund. October 2020. World Economic Outlook. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].

[9] International Monetary Fund (IMF). Policy Responses to COVID-19. November 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].

[10] International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 2019. Djibouti: 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Djibouti. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[11] International Labour Organization (ILO). 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[12] The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Mid-Year 2019. Djibouti humanitarian situation report. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[13] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. September 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].
[14] Central Bank of Djibouti. Actions et mesures prises par la Banque Centrale en riposte a la pandemie du COVID-19 a Djibouti. Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2021].

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Data Highlights

  • 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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