Burkinabe

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Burkina Faso, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population. Burkina Faso’s 15,3 million people belong to two major West African cultural groups—the Gur (Voltaic) and the Mandé. The Voltaic are far more numerous and include the Mossi, who make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso and established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi are still bound by the traditions of the Mogho Naba, who hold court in Ouagadougou. About 12,000 Europeans reside in Burkina Faso, the majority are French. Most of Burkina’s people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, sometimes exceeding 48 per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). This population density, high for Africa, causes annual migrations of hundreds of thousands of Burkinabé to Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana for seasonal agricultural work. About a third of Burkinabé adhere to traditional African religions. The introduction of Islam to Burkina Faso was initially resisted by the Mossi rulers. Christians, predominantly Roman Catholics, are largely concentrated among the urban elite. Few Burkinabé have had formal education. Schooling is free but not compulsory, and only about 29% of Burkina’s primary school-age children receive a basic education. The University of Ouagadougou, founded in 1974, was the country’s first institution of higher education. The Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Bobo-Dioulasso was opened in 1995.