By midyear 2019, Benin had a population of 1 million and an annual population growth rate of 3.3%. Overall, 43.0% of Benin’s population was under age 15. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, has declined from 6.7 children in 1990, to 4.9 children in 2015 and 5.7 children per woman in 2019. To increase the likelihood of a demographic dividend in Benin, health and education progress must be accelerated and strong investments made in family planning, reproductive health, and girls’ education.

Population pyramids can be used to show change in population age structure over time. Here we can see that Benin’s age structure is beginning to slowly transition to older ages.

Benin Development Data:

Snapshot of the enabling environment for a demographic dividend
Economic Indicators

Percent of Population living on less than $1.9 per day: 49.5%
Annual GDP Growth rate: 6.75%
GINI Index: 47.84

Demographic Indicators

Total Fertility Rate: 5.7 children per woman
Percent of Population Under 15: 43.0%
Dependancy Ratio: 84.2 dependents per 100 working-age adults

Health Indicators

Life Expectancy: 61.4 years (Male: 60 ; Female: 63)
Infant Mortality: 55 deaths per 1,000 live births
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (all methods): 16%

Education Indicators

World bank Education Indicators (2018)
Pre-primary net enrollment: 14%
Primary education net enrollment: 97%
Proportion completing primary: 81%
Net enrollment in secondary education: 47%
Gross enrollment in tertiary education: 12%
Adult literacy rate (+15 years): 45% 

Completed Primary School or Higher
Among Men ages 15-19: 58.9%
Among Men ages 20-24: 57.3%
Among Women ages 15-19: 46.8%
Among Women ages 20-24: 39.1%

Completed Secondary School or Higher
Among Men ages 20-24: 12%
Among Women ages 20-24: 5.4%
Median schooling for males ages 15-49: 4.8 years
Median schooling for females ages 15-49:

Governance Indicators

Political Stability: 0.05
Government Effectiveness: -0.50
Global Competitiveness Index: 3.5

The broad pyramid bases in “Benin 1970”, “Benin 1990”, and “Benin 2010” represent a large number of children in relation to the working age population. Fertility rates are declining gradually in Benin and remain high. “Benin 2030” is the United Nations projection of Benin’s population age structure if fertility continues to decline gradually. “Benin 2030” shows a base that is beginning to narrow slightly at the youngest ages, meaning that the working age population is growing in relation to the young dependent age proportion of the population. This pyramid assumes that by2030, fertility will decline to an average of 3.7 children per woman over the course of her lifetime. By 2050, the projected changes to age structure are more noticeable. “Benin 2050” shows a larger working age population than currently exists compared to the number of dependent children and elders. Based on current UN projections, Benin’s fertility rates won’t drop to replacement levels until 2090.
Chart by Visualizer

43% of Benin’s population is under age 15

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Benin

If Benin makes substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning, fertility levels may continue to decline, and children will be more likely to achieve better basic levels of health. With additional investments in health and education and economic initiatives to facilitate job creation, Benin may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. Work on the topic of a demographic dividend in Benin includes:

  • UNFPA representative Dr. Ouédraogo completed a helpful PowerPoint presentation on sustainable development and population dynamics in Benin.
  • A comprehensive analytical report on the demographic dividend in Benin was commissioned by l’Agence Françaisede Développement and completed by Dr.Guengant and colleagues.

Population Reference Bureau, 2019 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2019).

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2019) custom data acquired via website

World Bank Group. (2019) World DataBank. Retrieved from

Education statistics were taken from the 2017-2018 Benin Demographic and Health Survey.

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).


Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus, a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents–people younger than 15 or older than 64–to the working-age population–those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators

are measured on a scale from-2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at: