Allo' Expat Ivory Coast - Connecting Expats in Ivory Coast  
Allo' Expat Ivory Coast Logo

Subscribe to Allo' Expat Newsletter
Check our Rates
   Information Center Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast General Information
History of Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast Culture
Ivory Coast Cuisine
Ivory Coast Geography
Ivory Coast Population
Ivory Coast Government
Ivory Coast Economy
Ivory Coast Communications
Ivory Coast Transportations
Ivory Coast Military
Ivory Coast Transnational Issues
Ivory Coast Healthcare
Ivory Coast People Language Religion
Ivory Coast Expatriates Handbook
Ivory Coast and Foreign Government
Ivory Coast General Listings
Ivory Coast Useful Tips
Ivory Coast Education & Medical
Ivory Coast Travel & Tourism Info
Ivory Coast Lifestyle & Leisure
Ivory Coast Business Matters
  Sponsored Links

Check our Rates

Mostly Cloudy
1(USD) = 523.3(XOF)
Fri | 10:31AM

People, Language & Religion


The ethnic composition of Côte d'Ivoire is complex. The Baoulé, concentrated in the central and southeastern regions, account for about 23% of the population. Next come the Bété, a Kru people in the southwest, accounting for 18%. The Sénoufo in the north constitute about 15%. The Mandingo, or Malinké, in the northwest, total 11%. Agni, related to the Baoulé, in the southeast, and Africans from other countries (mostly Burkinabe and Malians) number about 3 million.

Non-Africans consist about 4% of the population. Many are French, Lebanese, Vietnamese and Spanish citizens, as well as Protestant missionaries from the United States and Canada. In November 2004, around 10,000 French and other foreign nationals evacuated Côte d'Ivoire due to attacks from pro-government youth militias. Aside from French nationals, there are native-born descendants of French settlers who arrived during the country's colonial period.


The official language is French. Of the more than 60 African languages spoken by different ethnic groups, the most important are Agni and Baulé, spoken by the Akan group; the Kru languages; the Sénoufo languages; and the Mandé languages (especially Malinké-Bambura-Dioula).


Religion in Côte d'Ivoire remains very heterogeneous, with Islam (almost all Sunni Muslims) and Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic) being the major religions. Muslims dominate the north, while Christians dominate the south. In 2008, 38.6% of Côte d'Ivoire was Muslim, followed by 32.8% Christian, 11.9% practising indigenous religions and 16.7% with no religion. Côte d'Ivoire's capital, Yamoussoukro, is also home to the largest church building in the world, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro. Traditionalists are generally concentrated in rural areas in the north and across the centre of the country. The Akan ethnic group traditionally practices a religion called Bossonism.

The constitution implemented in 2000 provides for freedom of religion; however, Christianity has historically enjoyed a privileged status in national life with particularly advantage toward the Catholic Church. For instance, Christian schools have long been considered official schools and so have received subsidies through the Ministry of Education; however, Muslim schools were considered religious institutions and were not considered for similar subsidies until 1994.