October 7, 2009

Mapping the Global Muslim Population

Sub-Saharan Africa Overview

Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes 50 countries and territories, has about 241 million Muslims, which is about 15% of the world Muslim population. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in Sub-Saharan Africa, with about 78 million Muslims (about 50% of Nigeria’s total population). Almost one-in-three Muslims (about 32%) in Sub-Saharan Africa live in Nigeria. Western Africa is the only area in Sub-Saharan Africa with a Muslim majority. In contrast, the southern part of Africa has the smallest Muslim population.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to a number of countries that have very large Muslim majorities. Countries with the highest percentages of Muslim populations are: Mauritania (99%), Niger (99%), Somalia (99%), Mayotte (98%), Comoros (98%), Djibouti (97%), Senegal (96%), Gambia (95%), Mali (93%), Guinea (84%) and Sierra Leone (71%). The combined Muslim population of all these countries is about 67 million, or about 4% of the global Muslim population.

Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the Largest Number of Muslims

Estimated 2009
Muslim Population
Percentage of
Population that
is Muslim
Percentage of
World Muslim
Population
Nigeria 78,056,000 50.4% 5.0%
Ethiopia 28,063,000 33.9 1.8
Niger 15,075,000 98.6 1.0
Tanzania 13,218,000 30.2 0.8
Mali 12,040,000 92.5 0.8
Senegal 12,028,000 96.0 0.8
Burkina Faso 9,292,000 59.0 0.6
Somalia 8,995,000 98.5 0.6
Guinea 8,502,000 84.4 0.5
Ivory Coast 7,745,000 36.7 0.5
Rest of Region 47,618,000 11.3 3.0
Regional Total 240,632,000 30.1 15.3
World Total 1,571,198,000 22.9 100.0
Note: Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding.Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life • Mapping the Global Muslim Population, October 2009

Map: Distribution of Muslim Population in Sub-Saharan Africa

Roll over a country bubble to see its estimated 2009 Muslim population, the percentage of its population that is Muslim and the percentage of the world Muslim population it represents.

* Indicates the use of a source with a small enough sample size to make these estimates somewhat less reliable. Due to this greater margin of error, percentages are rounded to the nearest integer rather than to the first decimal place and are therefore more approximate (~).

Countries where the number of Muslims is too small to be reliably estimated not shown