Population of Cabo Verde 2017


Current population of Cabo Verde is 560,899 people (July 2017 est.).


noun: Cabo Verdean(s)
adjective: Cabo Verdean

Ethnic Groups

Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%


Portuguese (official), Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)


Roman Catholic 77.3%, Protestant 4.6% (includes Church of the Nazarene 1.7%, Adventist 1.5%, Assembly of God 0.9%, Universal Kingdom of God 0.4%, and God and Love 0.1%), other Christian 3.4% (includes Christian Rationalism 1.9%, Jehovah’s Witness 1%, and New Apostolic 0.5%), Muslim 1.8%, other 1.3%, none 10.8%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)

Demographic Profile

Cabo Verde’s population descends from its first permanent inhabitants in the late 15th-century – a preponderance of West African slaves, a small share of Portuguese colonists, and even fewer Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese Jews. Over the centuries, the country’s overall population size has fluctuated significantly, as recurring periods of famine and epidemics have caused high death tolls and emigration.

Labor migration historically reduced Cabo Verde’s population growth and still provides a key source of income through remittances. Expatriates probably outnumber Cabo Verde’s resident population, with most families having a member abroad. Cabo Verdeans have settled in the US, Europe, Africa, and South America. The largest diaspora community in New Bedford, Massachusetts, dating to the early 1800s, is a byproduct of the transatlantic whaling industry. Cabo Verdean men fleeing poverty at home joined the crews of US whaling ships that stopped in the islands. Many settled in New Bedford and stayed in the whaling or shipping trade, worked in the textile or cranberry industries, or operated their own transatlantic packet ships that transported compatriots to the US. Increased Cabo Verdean emigration to the US coincided with the gradual and eventually complete abolition of slavery in the archipelago in 1878.

During the same period, Portuguese authorities coerced Cabo Verdeans to go to Sao Tome and Principe and other Portuguese colonies in Africa to work as indentured laborers on plantations. In the 1920s, when the US implemented immigration quotas, Cabo Verdean emigration shifted toward Portugal, West Africa (Senegal), and South America (Argentina). Growing numbers of Cabo Verdean labor migrants headed to Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. They filled unskilled jobs in Portugal, as manyPortuguese sought out work opportunities in the more prosperous economies of northwest Europe. Cabo Verdeans eventually expanded their emigration to the Netherlands, where they worked in the shipping industry. Migration to the US resumed under relaxed migration laws. Cabo Verdean women also began migrating to southern Europe to become domestic workers, a trend that continues today and has shifted the gender balance of Cabo Verdean emigration.

Emigration has declined in more recent decades due to the adoption of more restrictive migration policies in destination countries. Reduced emigration along with alarge youth population, decreased mortality rates, and increased life expectancies, has boosted population growth, putting further pressure on domestic employment and resources. In addition, Cabo Verde has attracted increasing numbers of migrants in recent decades, consisting primarily of people from West Africa, Portuguese-speaking African countries, Portugal, and China. Since the 1990s, some West African migrants have used Cabo Verde as a stepping stone for illegal migration to Europe.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 29.13% (male 82,157/female 81,227)
15-24 years: 20.11% (male 56,401/female 56,391)
25-54 years: 39.64% (male 108,081/female 114,234)
55-64 years: 5.94% (male 14,547/female 18,761)
65 years and over: 5.19% (male 11,012/female 18,088) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 55.4
youth dependency ratio: 48.4
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9
potential support ratio: 14.4 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 24.9 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 25.7 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

1.3% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

20 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death Rate

6 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net Migration Rate

-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Population Distribution

among the nine inhabited islands, population distribution is variable; islands in the east are very dry and are only sparsely settled to exploit their extensive salt deposits; the more southerly islands receive more precipitation and support larger populations, but agriculture and livestock grazing have damaged the soil fertility and vegetation; approximately half of the population lives on Sao Tiago Island, which is the location of the capital of Praia; Mindelo, on the northern island of Sao Vicente, also has a large urban population


urban population: 66.8% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

PRAIA (capital) 145,000 (2014)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

19.5 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2005 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

42 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 22.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 72.1 years
male: 69.8 years
female: 74.5 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

2.24 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Health Expenditures

4.8% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.31 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital Bed Density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 94% of population
rural: 87.3% of population
total: 91.7% of population

urban: 6% of population
rural: 12.7% of population
total: 8.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 81.6% of population
rural: 54.3% of population
total: 72.2% of population

urban: 1.4% of population
rural: 45.7% of population
total: 27.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

0.8% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

2,800 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

<100 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

11.7% (2014)

Education Expenditures

5% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.8%
male: 91.7%
female: 82% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2015)