Sudan Sudan

Statistical Snapshot


The total population of Sudan has considerably increased over the couple of decades, reaching 43.85 million in 2020, compared to 27.28 million in 2000, with a population growth rate that averaged at 2.4 percent over this period. The population is young with 61.6 percent below the age of 24 and a fertility rate of 4.43 births per woman throughout the period of 2015-2020.[1] The majority of Sudan's population is rural, with an urban population of 34.6 percent in 2018.[2] The maternal mortality in Sudan continues to be high, reaching 295 per 100,000 live births in 2017, almost two times the regional average of 149 per 100,000 live births.[3]

Sudan is a lower-middle-income[4] and low human development country of HDI at 0.507, where 46.5 percent of the population live below the national poverty line, and 52.4 percent are considered multi-dimensionally poor according to the latest available  Human Development Report that dates back 2019.[5] As a result of the ongoing conflicts in Sudan and the  secession of South Sudan in 2011, 5.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018, 3.1 million of which live in Darfur. Moreover, following months of protests, Sudan has adopted a new constitutional declaration in August 2019 to guide a political transition for a period of 36 months. Sudan is also located in a region that surrounds unstable countries, and as of November 2019, there were 1.1 million refugees from different African and Asian countries in Sudan.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimated adult literacy rate in Sudan at 60.7 percent of the total population in 2018.[6] Gross enrolment rates in Sudan fall far below the regional averages. And as for Gender Inequality Index, Sudan ranked 139th with a value of 0.56.

Driven by agriculture, which assumes 30.4 percent of GDP in 2017[2], Sudan’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) levelled at Int$ 181 billion and a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of Int$ 4,480 in 2017.[3] The 2011 Secession  has led to a loss of three-quarters of the country’s oil production and half of its fiscal revenues, causing a structural shock to the Sudanese economy and real GDP growth (constant 2005 prices) contracted by 1.3 percent and 3.4 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.[7] The economy started recovering in 2013 and real GDP growth averaged at 3.7 percent in 2018.[7] Fiscal consolidation and tight monetary policy helped reduce inflation to 19.8 percent in 2015, however it skyrocketed to 43.5 percent in 2018.[7] Driven by the government’s fiscal reforms, tax revenues rose to 77.7 percent of government revenues in 2015, up from 49.1 percent of government revenues in 2011.[8] The fiscal deficit decreased from 3.3 percent of GDP in 2012 to 1.1 percent of GDP in 2014, and rose again to 1.2 percent in 2015. 


Public debt in 2018 reached a high value of 97.7 percent of GDP, up from 77.4 percent of GDP in 2013.[9] The external position is fragile, with the current account deficit at 7.8 percent of GDP in 2019 and limited international reserves that amounted to 2 months of imports. Public and external debt ratios remain high and unsustainable, and stood at 211.7 percent of GDP and 198.2 percent of GDP, respectively, in 2019.[10] According to the latest IMF projections (as of May 2020), real GDP is projected to contract by 7.2 percent and inflation (consumer prices) to hit 81.3 percent in 2020.

The labor force participation rate in Sudan remained stable over the 2000-2018 period, ranging between 50.5 percent and 46.4 percent. The male labor force participation rate of 69.8 percent was around three times higher than that of women at 23.5 percent in 2018. Over the same period, unemployment rate was estimated at 13.4 percent in 2018. Women unemployment rate registered 19.3 percent compared to 11.3 percent for men in 2018. Youth unemployment rate stood at 22.1 percent in 2018 with the biggest burden falling on young women, where their unemployment rate registered 31.6 percent compared to 18.5 percent for young men in 2018.[11]



This overview was last updated in May 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.

[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2019. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[3] The World Bank. 2019. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at:​ [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[4] The World Bank. 2018. The World Bank in Sudan, Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[5] United Nations Development Programme. 2019. Human development report. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[6] UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2019. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[7] International Monetary Fund. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[8] Sudan Central Bureau of Statistics. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[9] International Monetary Fund. 2017. IMF executive board concludes 2017 article IV consultation with Sudan. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[10] IMF Article IV Statement, February 2020, [ONLINE] Available file:///C:/Users/farah.choucair/Downloads/1SDNEA2020001.pdf [Accessed 28 May 2020].
[11] International Labor Organization. 2018. [ONLINE] Available at: ​ [Accessed 28 May 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • The majority of Sudan's population is rural, with an urban population of just 34% in 2016.

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