Ethnic composition of the population of Senegal

Senegal has about 18 million people who belong to different ethnic groups, some of which have their roots in the ancient empires that once ruled the region.

According to the 2013 census, the largest ethnic group is the Wolof, representing 43.3% of the population. The Wolof people are the original inhabitants of Senegal, and their Wolof language is one of the main languages of the country, which is often spoken by other ethnic groups as well. The Wolof are predominantly Sunni Muslims and live mainly in the western and northern parts of Senegal.

The second largest ethnic group is the Fulb (or Peul) who make up 23.8% of the population. The Fulba are pastoralists and traders who spread throughout West Africa from the 11th century. The Fulbes are also Sunni Muslims, and their language, Fulfulde, belongs to the Atlantic languages.

The third largest ethnic group is the Serer, who make up 14.7% of the population. The Serer are farmers and fishermen who settled in Senegal around the 11th century. The Serer people have their own Serer language and follow the traditional Serer religion, which worships ancestors and nature spirits. However, some Serers converted to Islam or Christianity.

Other significant ethnic groups in Senegal are Diol (5.7%), Mandinka (4.6%), Soninka (1.1%) and European (0.2%). The Diol are farmers and artisans who live in the southern part of Senegal and neighboring Guinea-Bissau. The Diols have their Diola language and practice the traditional Diola religion, which emphasizes harmony with nature. The Mandinka are descendants of the ancient Mali Empire, which ruled West Africa between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Mandinkas are Sunni Muslims and their Mandinka language belongs to the Mandic languages. The Soninks are traders and farmers who come from the first great empire in West Africa - Ghana, which existed between the 8th and 11th centuries. The Sonins are Muslims of the Sunni direction.