Countryaah data, Chad is one of Africa's least populated countries. The
southern, rainy regions are densely populated, while the
northern desert areas are in the immediate public. In 2019,
the country's average population density was estimated to be
12 residents per km2.
The country has the lowest urbanization rate in the
region (23 percent, 2019), and the largest cities are the
capital N'Djamena (1.1 million residents, 2012), Moundou
(137,900) and Sarh (103,300).
The population consists of a few hundred ethnic groups,
but both culturally and economically and religiously there
is a strong distinction between the Sahel area and the
forest savannah in the south.
The people of the Sahel are Muslims and feed on a
combination of agriculture and semi-nomadic livestock
management. The dominant group is Arabic-speaking baqqara
(1.6 million); Other groups include kanuri (500,000),
kanembu (700,000) and bagirmi (45,000) who speak
Nilo-Saharan languages and Hausa (180,000), who speak a
West Chadian language. In the Tibi Mountains there are
350,000 nomadizing toubou, who speak Nilo-Saharan languages
and disintegrate in the distinct groups of teda and
dazaga. At Lake Chad in the western part of the country
there is a hunter people called haddad.
The southern parts of the country are dominated by
non-Muslim groups of resident farmers who predominantly grow
rice, cassava and sweet potatoes. Most of these groups
practice indigenous African religions, but many are
nominally Christian. They include both Nilo-Saharan peoples,
most of whom are commonly referred to as sara (3 million),
Afro-Asian (Chadian) peoples (including Masa, 200,000), and
a large number of smaller groups who speak the Niger-Congo
Official languages are French and Arabic. In the
country, over one hundred languages belong to at least
three different language families. The Afro-Asiatic includes
Arabic (Chadic dialects) and Eastern Chad languages and Masa
(compare Chad language). Some groups in the south speak
Niger-Congo language. In the north, the Nilo-Saharan
languages dominate. Distributed in the southern half of
the country, the Bongo Baghmer languages are spoken,
including the Nilo-Saharan languages.
In 2010, almost 60% of Chad's population were Muslims.
Islam came to the country as early as the 600s through
General Uqba ibn Nafi (622–83), who served in the Umayyad
dynasty. Sufism has a strong position; particularly
prominent Sufic rulers are Tijaniya, who has incorporated
some local African elements into his religious practice, as
well as Sanusiya and Qadiriya. There are also more
fundamentalist minorities in the country that include
Wahhabism and Salafism.
The Muslims live mainly in the northern parts of the
country, while the country's Christians are mainly in the
south. However, this pattern is breaking up, especially in
the larger cities of the country.
Among the Christians, who are estimated at just over 30%
of the population, about half are Catholics and a third are
Protestants. Other Christian communities include Seventh-day
Adventists, various variants of Baptist and Pentecostal
churches, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
It is estimated that about 10% of Chadians embrace
traditional indigenous religion. In addition, there are
nearly 100,000 followers in Bahad in Chad.
Since the French colonial period, Chad has been
constitutionally a secular country. However, the
Constitution and other law formulations on religious freedom
do not work in practice. The government has banned some
Muslim organizations propagating jihad. Another group that
is banned is the sufi group Al Faid al-Djaria. This
was banned because its members introduced music and dance in
religious ceremonies and allowed women to participate in
them. In addition, some state bodies have religious
characteristics. The High Council for Islamic Affairs (HCIA)
oversees Islamic activities on behalf of the government and
the Directorate of Religious and Traditional Affairs,
together with HCIA, organizes pilgrimage trips to Mecca.
HCIA and the President together nominate the country's
highest imam, who is also the head of HCIA.
Religious education is prohibited in public schools, but
religious organizations are permitted to run private
schools. Therefore, there are many Arabic-speaking Islamic
schools. These receive a great deal of financial support
from abroad, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The following days are national religious holidays:
Prophet Muhammad's birth, Easter Sunday, Id al-fitr, All
Saints Day, Id al-adha and Christmas Day. It is common for
Muslims and Christians to celebrate each other's holidays.