Patheos Watermark

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Population (2009 est.)15,306,252
Religious DemographicsMuslim 80%, other (includes indigenous beliefs and Christian) 20%
Ethnic GroupsHaoussa 55.4%, Djerma Sonrai 21%, Tuareg 9.3%, Peuhl 8.5%, Kanouri Manga 4.7%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
LanguagesFrench (official), Hausa, Djerma

The country has an area of 490,000 square miles and a population of 15.4 million. Islam is practiced by more than 98 percent of the population. Approximately 95 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 5 percent are Shi'a. There are also small communities of Christians and Baha'is. Christians, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, account for fewer than 2 percent of the population and are present mainly in the regions of Maradi and Dogondoutchi, and in Niamey and other urban centers with expatriate populations. Adherents of Christianity include local believers from colonial families as well as immigrants from neighboring coastal countries, particularly Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Numbering a few thousand, Baha'is reside primarily in Niamey and in communities on the west side of the Niger River, bordering Burkina Faso. A small percentage of the population practices indigenous religious beliefs.