The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is bounded by Senegal and Mali to the south and east, Algeria and the Western Sahara to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The total area of the country is 1,030,000 sq. km. and the principal towns are Nouakchott with a population of 708,000; Nouadhibou, 72,000; Kaedi, 34,000; Atar, 24,000; Rosso, 50,000. Around 60 per cent of the country is desert. The climate is desert: very hot and dry.
In 2007 the population stood at an estimated 3.124 million. The majority of the population live in or near the capital Nouakchott and along the Senegal river.
The official language is Arabic, but French, Poular, Wolof and Solinke are also spoken.
BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, DEATHS
Estimated figures for 2005 put the birth rate at 41 births per 1,000 population and the death rate at 12 per 1,000 population. The average life expectancy in 2007 was 56 years for males and 61 years for females. Healthy life expectancy was 49 years for males and 52 years for females. The median age is 20 years. Figures for 2007 show that 20 per cent of the population in aged 14 or under. (Source: WHO)
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