Population of Madagascar 2017


Current population of Madagascar is 25,054,161 people (July 2017 est.).


noun: Malagasy (singular and plural)
adjective: Malagasy

Ethnic Groups

Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry – Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran


French (official), Malagasy (official), English


Christian, indigenous religionist, Muslim

Demographic Profile

Madagascar’s youthful population – just over 60% are under the age of 25 – and high total fertility rate of more than 4 children per women ensures that the Malagasy population will continue its rapid growth trajectory for the foreseeable future. The population is predominantly rural and poor; chronic malnutrition is prevalent, and large families are the norm. Many young Malagasy girls are withdrawn from school, marry early (often pressured to do so by their parents), and soon begin having children. Early childbearing, coupled with Madagascar’s widespread poverty and lack of access to skilled health care providers during delivery, increases the risk of death and serious health problems for young mothers and their babies.

Child marriage perpetuates gender inequality and is prevalent among the poor, the uneducated, and rural households – as of 2013, of Malagasy women aged 20 to 24, more than 40% were married and more than a third had given birth by the age of 18. Although the legal age for marriage is 18, parental consent is often given for earlier marriages or the law is flouted, especially in rural areas that make up nearly 65% of the country. Forms of arranged marriage whereby young girls are married to older men in exchange for oxen or money are traditional. If a union does not work out, a girl can be placed in another marriage, but the dowry paid to her family diminishes with each unsuccessful marriage.
Madagascar’s population consists of 18 main ethnic groups, all of whom speak the same Malagasy language. Most Malagasy are multi-ethnic, however, reflecting the island’s diversity of settlers and historical contacts (see Background). Madagascar’s legacy of hierarchical societies practicing domestic slavery (most notably the Merina Kingdom of the 16th to the 19th century) is evident today in persistent class tension, with some ethnic groups maintaining a caste system. Slave descendants are vulnerable to unequal access to education and jobs, despite Madagascar’s constitutional guarantee of free compulsory primary education and its being party to several international conventions on human rights. Historical distinctions also remain between central highlanders and coastal people.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 39.87% (male 5,035,160/female 4,952,909)
15-24 years: 20.34% (male 2,556,130/female 2,538,644)
25-54 years: 32.12% (male 4,022,698/female 4,025,038)
55-64 years: 4.38% (male 535,300/female 560,932)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 374,770/female 452,580) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 80.1
youth dependency ratio: 75
elderly dependency ratio: 5.1
potential support ratio: 19.6 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 19.5 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 19.7 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

2.5% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

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

Death Rate

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

Net Migration Rate

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

Population Distribution

most of population lives on the eastern half of the island; significant clustering is found in the central highlands and eastern coastline


urban population: 35.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.69% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

ANTANANARIVO (capital) 2.61 million (2015)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1 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 (2008/09 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

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

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 42.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 46.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 65.9 years
male: 64.4 years
female: 67.4 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

4.03 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

39.9% (2008/09)

Health Expenditures

3% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital Bed Density

0.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 81.6% of population
rural: 35.3% of population
total: 51.5% of population

urban: 18.4% of population
rural: 64.7% of population
total: 48.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 18% of population
rural: 8.7% of population
total: 12% of population

urban: 82% of population
rural: 91.3% of population
total: 88% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

0.2% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

31,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

1,600 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

4.6% (2014)

Education Expenditures

2.1% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.7%
male: 66.7%
female: 62.6% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2014)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 1,827,423
percentage: 28%

note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2007 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 2.6%
male: 2.2%
female: 3% (2012 est.)