Burkina Faso

As of mid-2019, Burkina Faso has a current population of 20.3 million, annual population growth rate of 3.09%. Overall, 45% of people in Burkina Faso are under age 15. Use of modern contraceptives remains relatively low, despite ongoing efforts to increase demand for family planning and access to contraceptives. As of January 2019, the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) 2020 estimated that 27.3% of all women and 30.7% of women in union use a modern contraceptive method to limit or space births. The Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, is declining but remains high: it reduced from 6.9 children in 1990 to 5.7 children per woman in 2015 and 5.3 in 2019.

Population pyramids can be used to show change in population age structure over time. Here we can see that the Burkina Faso age structure has not remarkably started to shift to older ages.

Burkina Faso Development Data:

Snapshot of the enabling environment for a demographic dividend
Economic Indicators

Percent of Population living on less than $1.9 per day: 43.7%
Annual GDP Growth rate (2018): 6.8%
GINI Index: 35.3

Demographic Indicators

Total Fertility Rate: 5.3 children per woman
Percent of Population Under 15: 45%
Dependency Ratio (2018): 89.9 dependents per 100 working-age adults

Health Indicators

Life Expectancy (2019): 61 years
Infant Mortality (2019): 55 deaths per 1,000 live births
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (all methods): 29%

Education Indicators

World bank Education Indicators (2018)
Pre-primary gross enrollment (2016): 4%
Primary education net enrollment (2017): 79%
Proportion completing primary (2017): 65%
Net enrollment in secondary education: 31%
Gross enrollment in tertiary education: 7%
Adult literacy rate (+15 years): 41% 

Completed Primary School or Higher*
Among Men ages 15-19: 3.8%
Among Men ages 20-24: 2.6%
Among Women ages 15-19: 2.9%
Among Women ages 20-24: 2.0 %

Completed Secondary School or Higher
Among Men ages 20-24: 0.2%
Among Women ages 20-24: 0.4%
Median schooling for males ages 15-49: 0.0 years **
Median schooling for females ages 15-49: 0.0 years**

Median schooling for adolescent males ages 10-19: 2.5 years
Median schooling for adolescent females ages 10-19: 4.4 years


*Education data were from the Demographic Health Survey data, 2010
**The median schooling of 0.0 years was due to higher illiteracy rate with more than half of population aged 15 – 49 illiterate

Governance Indicators

Political Stability: -0.65
Government Effectiveness: -0.59
Global Competitiveness Index: 3.2

In addition to showing change to age structure over time, the Population pyramids can be used to show projected changes to age structure in the future. Looking at the population pyramids of Burkina Faso, not much change to age structure is anticipated until between 2030 and 2050.

The broad bases of the pyramids “Burkina Faso 1970”, “Burkina Faso 1990”, “Burkina Faso 2010”, represent a large number of children in relation to the working age population. The shape of these pyramids is also characteristic of a population with high mortality. Indeed, total fertility in Burkina Faso has remained high over the last four decades. Fertility actually slightly rose from 1970 when the average woman had 6.7 children over the course of her life to 6.9 children per woman in 1990. By 2010, total fertility rates dropped mildly to 6.1 children per woman and was 5.3 children per woman in 2019. “Burkina Faso 2030” is the United Nations projection of Burkina Faso population age structure if fertility declines at a moderate rate. This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 4.5 children per woman over the course of her lifetime, which will require significant commitment on the part of the government of Burkina Faso and civil society. In “Burkina Faso 2050,” projections show the base of the population pyramid narrowing, representing a lower fertility rate estimated at 3.3 children per woman and the age structure of the population beginning to change.

Chart by Visualizer

49% of people in Burkina

Faso are under age 15

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Burkina Faso

If Burkina Faso makes substantial investments in reproductive health, family planning, and girls’ education, a fertility decline will likely occur, 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, Burkina Faso may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend.

However, this will need substantial efforts and investment because the population of Burkina Faso between 0-14 years of age will remain close to half of the population for the next few decades.

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

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2019).

World Bank Group. (2019) World DataBank. Retrieved from http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx

Education statistics were taken from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey for each country.

World Bank Group. (2019) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

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

Performance Monitoring and accountability PMA2020

World Health Organization-Adolescent contraceptive use brief


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: http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size. http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015/