Population in Urban Area, now
- World: 149th
- Africa: 22nd
- Senegal: 1st
Population in City Area, 2019-09-05
- World: 102nd
- Africa: 15th
- Senegal: 1st
Dakar Urban Area Population Graph
Dakar Population Review
Dakar is a city of 2.4 million people located in the country of Senegal, with 3.1 million people living in the Dakar metropolitan area. It is the capital of, and the largest in, Senegal. Originally settled in the 15th century, Dakar replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. For a brief time—from 1959 to 1960, to be exact—the city was the capital of the Mali Federation. From there, it became the capital of the Independent Republic of Senegal.
Dakar is one of the chief seaports on the western African coast. Dakar’s harbour is considered one of the best in western Africa and is protected by the natural limestone cliffs of the cape and a system of breakwaters. The city’s name comes from the Wolof name, dakhar, a name for the tamarind tree and the name of a coastal Lebu village that was located south of the first pier.
A steady population growth
Since the 1950s, Dakar’s population has been on a steady upswing. In 1950, the city’s population was only 214,000. It has continued to swell since then, growing to the current metropolitan population of 3.1 million. It’s predicted that the population will continue expanding and is estimated to reach 5.1 million by 2035. In the past four years, the city’s population has grown by over 2.5% each year, with a 2.72% increase from 2019 to 2020.
A creative city
Dakar has a rich culture of tradition and heritage and is a creative metropolis that hosts many important cultural events, such as the World Festival of Black Arts and the Biennial of Contemporary African Art. The city is also home to several museums and galleries, including the the Théodore Monod Museum of African art, the Arts Village, galleries including the National Gallery of Art, the Daniel Sorano National Theatre and the Grand National Theatre.
Tourism to Dakar
Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa and Dakar is one of the main cities of interest for those travelling to the western African country. Most tourists visiting Dakar are Europeans, with the majority being French, and many foreign tourists go to resort towns like Saly on the Petite Côte, south of Dakar, which contain enclosed beach resorts and hotels. This town was created specifically for this clientele since the 1970s. Nature tours and wildlife trips, and historic sites around Dakar, like Gorée Island, often supplement these resort vacations.
Dakar’s religious sites are mostly Muslim and Christian, however, the city is a place of importance for Islamic culture. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) chose Dakar as the Capital of Islamic Culture for African Region in 2007. Most of the Senegalese Muslim population are part of the Sufi brotherhood, a concept of mystical teaching and spiritual practice that seeks to reach haqiqa, or “ultimate truth”.
The Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally is an annual, off-road endurance event established in 1979 that tasks competitors with traversing tough terrain. The rally is open to both professional and amateur competitors. The 2020 Dakar Rally attracted 351 crews, but only finished with 226. As competitors race across each of the 14 stages of the rally—each stage another 500km of sand, mud, and rocks—each day to complete the 10,000km event, they run the very real risk of death. The Dakar Rally is considered one of the most dangerous races in the world and has a death toll of 50 since its inception in the late 1970s—this is about one death every year since the race first started.