People in Democratic Republic of the Congo

By | April 16, 2021

Proportion of literate adults: 77% (2018)

Major religions: Christians 80% (thereof Kimbanguists 10%), Islam 10%

Urban population: 43% (2019)

Life expectancy (female / male): 60.4 years  / 58.9 years  (2018)

Gender Inequality Index: Rank 186 of 187 (HDR 2018)

Number of births: 6 / p. Woman (estimated, 2017)

Infant mortality: 70/1000 live births (2018)

Peoples and regions

Democratic Republic of the Congo People

Democratic Republic of the Congo People

In total, up to 250 ethnic groups live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a major country in African continent according to thedresswizard. The largest are the Luba (18%), the Mongo (17%), the Bakongo (16%) and the Zande (10%).

Some sources assume the existence of around 200 languages, which in turn are divided into 25 linguistic groups. Four main languages are considered national languages: Lingala, Kiswahili, Kikongo, and Tshiluba. In the east and south of the country the majority – besides local languages – speak Swahili. This facilitates communication with neighboring countries, especially Zambia and Tanzania.

Lingala plays a special role. It became the language of the military and administration under the Mobutu regime and spread throughout the country. It is also the most important musical language – Congolese rumba and jazz live in this language. As a spoken language, Lingala is now the second official language.

In the greater Kinshasa area, as well as in the east of the country and in the province of Katanga, several thousand Europeans still live today as business people and as employees of large companies, particularly in the mining sector and the associated sectors. Significant foreign populations are Belgians, Americans, French, Angolans, Brazilians, and Lebanese, Pakistani and West African traders; they still dominate wholesale and retail. Then there are the employees of the international donor community and private development cooperation.

Relations between the DR Congo and the People’s Republic of China are normalizing at a high level. Since many Chinese investments in the DR Congo are granted in the form of loans and these are pending as claims, experts assume that relations between the People’s Republic of China and the DR Congo will cool down in the medium term. At the same time, there are more and more retailers from China, who are particularly based in Kinshasa.

Congolese exiles can be found in many African and European countries today. It is estimated that 120,000 Congolese live in South Africa alone. There are active communities in exile in Belgium and France. However, exact figures are not available, as many Congolese migrants are staying illegally in Europe.

Population development

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is characterized by a young population. Almost half of the population (47.5%) is less than 15 years old, 50% are between 15 and 64 years old and 2.5% are 65 or over.

The population growth is 2.33%, and the number is declining. In the urban environment and in the educated middle and upper classes, women have significantly fewer children. The war in the east of the country, HIV / AIDS and inadequate medical care are the important factors behind the low life expectancy of women at 59.8 years and men at 56.1 years (2017).

Family planning is not possible for the vast majority of couples (especially women) for financial, organizational, medical and cultural reasons. The majority of the churches still take a very conservative position on this issue.

Country overview

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in Central Africa. The second largest country on the continent is almost as big as Western Europe with over two million square kilometers. The Congo Basin with its tropical rainforests takes up around 60 percent of the total area. Mountain ranges limit this fertile region.

History & State

The history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been shaped by foreign rule, dictators and civil wars. Its gigantic natural wealth has always been the country’s undoing. Both European states and their African neighbors have historically been involved in exploiting the natural treasures of the Congo.

Economy & Development

Although the country has the greatest natural wealth in Africa, it is one of the poorest in the world. The main reason for this is the more than three decades of mismanagement and corruption by the Mobutu regime, followed by heavy armed conflicts up to the present day.

Society & culture

350 ethnic groups live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Local languages and a great cultural diversity are the basis for a lively regionalism in a country in which everyone sees themselves as Congolese.

Everyday life & practical information

The Democratic Republic of the Congo and especially the metropolis of Kinshasa are characterized by an endearing chaos. Congested streets, enormous cultural diversity, corruption, pulsating life… these are just a few of the faces of this challenging country.