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Fast Fact

Margaret Dure (right) pumps water from a well constructed by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in the Southern Sudanese town of Yei. Photo by Paul Jeffrey.


Source: CIA—The World Factbook, Sudan.

Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea

Sudan is the largest country in Africa, dominated by the Nile and its tributaries
Total: 1,557,038 sq mi
Land: 1.4 million sq mi
Water: 80,660 sq mi

Sudan is slightly more than one-quarter the size of the United States. Click here for a map of Sudan.

US map


Tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Natural Resources
Petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower

Land Use
Arable land: 6.78%
Permanent crops: 0.17%
Other: 93.05% (2005)

Environment: Current Issues
Inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought

40,218,456 (July 2008 estimate)

Comparison with United States: 305,644,793 (January 2009 estimate)

Sudan Population

Age Structure
0-14 years: 1.1% (male 8,451,576; female 8,093,609)
15-64 years: 56.4% (male 11,407,233; female 11,275,685)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 518,822; female 471,530) (2008 estimate)

Median Age
Total: 18.9 years
Male: 18.7 years
Female: 19.1 years (2008 estimate)

Population Growth Rate
2.134% (2008 estimate)

Birth Rate
34.31 births/1,000 population (2008 estimate)

Death Rate
13.64 deaths/1,000 population (2008 estimate)

Infant Mortality Rate
Total: 86.98 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 87.09 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 86.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 estimate)

Life Expectancy at Birth
Total population: 50.28 years
Male: 49.38 years
Female: 51.23 years (2008 estimate)

Ethnic Groups
Sudan Ethnic

Sudanese Ethnic Identity
Ethnicity and religion crisscross Sudan and are often cited as seismic fault lines running through the nation. However, the victims of violence in Darfur are Muslim, as are the leaders of the Sudanese government charged with the abuse. People in the Southern part of the country are largely Christian or animist. The term ‘Arab’ can refer to black Africans, white or brown peoples who are Muslim or Christian. Lines defining people in Sudan are fluid. (Yvette Moore, "African Americans: Standing Vigil for Darfur," Response, April 2009.) 

Arabic (official), English (official). More than 540 other languages including Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, and Sudanic languages.

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 61.1%
Male: 71.8%
Female: 50.5% (2003 estimate)


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