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People and Society






Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.


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People And Society

Noun Sierra Leonean(s)
Adjective Sierra Leonean

Ethnic groups
Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)

English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%

Population World Ranking: 112
5,485,998 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
41.8% (male 1,113,528/female 1,130,112)
15-64 years
54.5% (male 1,401,907/female 1,522,335)
65 years and over
3.7% (male 86,614/female 109,173) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 19.1 years
Male 18.6 years
Female 19.6 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 37
2.277% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 16
38.12 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 35
11.49 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 187
-3.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Refugees currently in surrounding countries are slowly returning (2012 est.)

Urban population 38% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
3.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
FREETOWN (capital) 875,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 0.99 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.78 male(s)/female
Total population
0.94 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 3
890 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 12
Total 76.64 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 85.37 deaths/1,000 live births
67.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 196
Total population 56.55 years
Male 54.08 years
Female 59.11 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 23
4.9 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 6
13.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.016 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 34
1.6% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 58
49,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 47
2,800 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Very high
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases Malaria and yellow fever
Water contact disease Schistosomiasis
Aerosolized dust or soil contact disease Lassa fever (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 28
21.3% (2008)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 93
4.3% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
Total population 35.1%
Male 46.9%
Female 24.4% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 12 years
Male 13 years
Female 11 years (2007)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 122
Total 5.2%
Male 7.3%
Female 3.5% (2004)


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  Sierra Leone (Freetown):

  GPS points from Sierra Leone (Freetown)

Dare Northern Province

Moseba Southern Province

Bumbuna Northern Province

Buye Eastern Province

Beeya Eastern Province

Taninahun Southern Province

Mabai Southern Province

Pasandi Western Area
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