There are more than 80 ethnic groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), each with its own language. About 50% are Baya-Mandjia, 40% Banda (largely located in the northern and central parts of the country), and 7% are M'Baka (southwestern corner of the CAR). Sangho, the language of a small group along the Oubangui River, is the national language spoken by the majority of Central Africans. Only a small part of the population has more than an elemental knowledge of French, the official language.
More than 55% of the population of the CAR lives in rural areas. The chief agricultural areas are around the Bossangoa and Bambari. Bangui, Berberati, Bangassou, and Bossangoa are the most densely populated urban centers.
The population of Africa has grown rapidly over the past century, and consequently shows a large youth bulge, further reinforced by a low life expectancy of below 50 years in some African countries. The population doubled in the period 1982–2009 and quadrupled from 1955–2009, according to United Nations estimates. The total population of Africa is estimated at 1 billion (as of November 2009.)