There has long been something of a mystery about how many people there are in Eritrea. Officially, there has been no census since independence in 1993.

Unofficially, it has been suggested that a census was taken soon after liberation, but the population was shown to be below 3 million and was suppressed as embarrassingly small.

Now, in the Eritrean government’s report to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights for 1999- 2016 the population is officially revealed.

It is 3.65 million.

This is how the revelation is phrased: “The Government‟s estimate of the resident population is 3.65 million (2015) implying a higher per capita income at GDP of US$2.61 billion (current 2011 prices).”

No estimate of the non-resident population is given – the number of people living in the diaspora.

This is on page 25, paragraph 89.

See the full report Eritrea response to African Human Rights Charter

This is considerably smaller than the 4,954,645  estimate from the UN for 2016.

Or the 5,918,919 (July 2017 estimate) provided by the CIA factbook. 

The official figure will come as something of a relief to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank, all of which have had to come up with their own guesses in the past.



  1. The youth who could produce the next generation are pushed out of their country, either as slaves or detained in the indefinite national service. Even the 3.6 million is very generous.


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