The population total in Cameroon was 23,439,189 in 2016. The life expectancy is 56 years (55.9 years for males and 58.6 years for females).
According to the latest census, Cameroon still has slightly more women (50.6%) than men (49.4%). Nearly 60% of the population is under age 25. People with over 65 years of age are for only 3.2% of the total population.
Cameroon’s population is almost evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers. Population density is highest in the large urban centres, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain. Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua are the largest cities. In contrast, the Adamawa Plateau, southeastern Bénoué depression, and most of the South Cameroon Plateau are sparsely populated.
According to the World Health Organization, the fertility rate was 4.8 in 2013 with a population growth rate of 2.56%.
People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment.
Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east. Although the national sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males which lead to unbalanced ratios in some regions.
Both monogamous and polygamous marriages are practised and the average Cameroonian family is large and extended. In the north, women tend to the home, and men herd cattle or work as farmers.
In the south, women grow the family’s food, and men provide meat and grow cash crops. Like most societies, Cameroonian society is male-dominated, and violence and discrimination against women is common.
Estimates identify anywhere from 230 to 282 different folks and linguistic groups in Cameroon.The Adamawa Plateau broadly bisects these into northern and southern divisions.
The northern peoples are Sudanese groups, who live in the central highlands and the northern lowlands, and the Fulani, who are spread throughout northern Cameroon. A small number of Shuwa Arabs live near Lake Chad. Southern Cameroon is inhabited by speakers of Bantu and Semi-Bantu languages.
Bantu-speaking groups inhabit the coastal and equatorial zones, while speakers of Semi-Bantu languages live in the Western grassfields. Some 5,000 Gyele and Baka Pygmy peoples roam the southeastern and coastal rainforests or live in small, roadside settlements. Nigerians make up the largest group of foreign nationals.
Refugees in Cameroon
In 2007, Cameroon hosted a total population of refugees and asylum seekers of approximately 97,400. Of these, 49,300 were from the Central African Republic (many driven west by war) 41,600 from Chad, and 2,900 from Nigeria. Kidnappings of Cameroonian citizens by Central African bandits have increased since 2005.
In the first months of 2014, thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic arrived in Cameroon.
On 4 June 2014, AlertNet reported:
Almost 90,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon since December and up to 2,000 a week, mostly women and children, are still crossing the border, the United Nations said.
“Women and children are arriving in Cameroon in a shocking state, after weeks, sometimes months, on the road, foraging for food,” said Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).