Sierra Leone Country Overview
Where is Sierra Leone located? The West African Republic of Sierra Leone has experienced decades of civil wars and has been in the recovery phase for the past 10 years. Nevertheless, it is still one of the poorest countries in Africa. The time zone map assigns Sierra Leone to the Greewich Mean Time Zone, a world time zone that has no time offset to the coordinated universal time. This stays the same throughout the year as there is no daylight saving time changeover in Sierra Leone.
Bordering Countries of Sierra Leone
According to abbreviationfinder, Sierra Leone is located in West Africa and is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Guinea is a relatively large country that shares its northern border with Sierra Leone. It is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, including the Fula, Maninka, Susu, Kissi, Kono and Loma. The capital city of Guinea is Conakry and it has a population of approximately 12 million people. The country has a tropical climate with two rainy seasons from March to May and October to November. It also has an abundance of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, iron ore and bauxite.
Liberia lies on Sierra Leone’s southern border and has been an independent nation since 1847 when it was founded by freed American slaves. Its capital city is Monrovia which has a population of around 1 million people. The country has a tropical climate with two distinct rainy seasons from May to July and October to November. Its major exports include rubber, timber, gold and diamonds. Liberia’s population consists mainly of 16 ethnic groups including Kpelle, Bassa, Gola Grebo, Kru and Vai among others who all speak different languages but share common cultural practices such as music, dance and art forms such as mask making.
As of 2023, the latest population of Sierra Leone is 6,624,933, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate
|36.30 births per 1,000 people
|Overall life expectancy
|Men life expectancy
|Women life expectancy
|65 years and above
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)
|92.35 residents per km²
|especially Mande groups: 32% Temne, 8% Limba, 4% Kuranko in the N, 35% Mende in the S; Europeans, Lebanese and others
|Muslims 60%, indigenous religions 30%, Christians 10%
|Human Development Index (HDI)
|181st out of 194
People in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leoner would be the correct name for the people of the country. For them, however, their ethnicity is more important than their nationality. A total of 16 peoples live in Sierra Leone.
The Temne and Mende people make up the majority of the population with 35 and 31 percent respectively. The Temne live mainly in the west and north of the country, the Mende in the south and east. Mende (like the Mandinka) belong to the Mandé peoples. Minorities are the Limba (8 percent) and the Kono (5 percent). Mandinka, Loko and Creoles each have 2 percent of the population.
The Creoles are descendants of freed or escaped slaves from the West Indies such as Jamaica and the United States. Great Britain also freed many slaves from slave ships after abolishing slavery in 1808 and brought them to Sierra Leone. Between 1787 and around 1855 a particularly large number of these freed slaves came to Sierra Leone. Many of these freed slaves settled in Freetown. This is one of the reasons why the city got its name: the city of the free. The Creoles had close ties to the colonial power Great Britain. They held high positions in politics. Their language Krio is based on English.
42 out of 100 people in Sierra Leone live in the city. So the majority live in the country. However, people always move to the cities.
The children of Sierra Leone
Each woman in Sierra Leone has an average of 4.3 children. That is much. With us, each woman has an average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people in Sierra Leone make up a large proportion of the population. A little more than half of the population is under 18 years of age.
Infant mortality is 3.3 percent, child mortality 7.8 percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That means: more than three out of 100 newborn children die, almost eight out of 100 do not celebrate their first birthday. Sierra Leone has the fifth highest five-year-old mortality in the world (10.5 percent). The numbers may have gone down over the past few decades, but they’re still way too high.
Languages in Sierra Leone
The official language is English and so classes in the school are also in English. The most common language, however, is Krio. This is a Creole language based on English and adopted African elements, especially from the Yoruba and Igbo, as many freed slaves belonged to these peoples. But French and Portuguese words also had an influence on Krio. The Krio word pickin, for example, comes from the Portuguese pequeno (small) and means child.
Krio is used today as the lingua franca with which the different ethnic groups communicate with one another. 10 percent of the population speak Krio as their mother tongue, almost the entire rest of the population speaks it as a second language.
How is Krio written?
Krio is written in Latin letters. There are no Q and X, but three letters from the African alphabet: Ɛ, Ŋ and Ɔ. Written it looks like this, for example: Ɛvribɔdi bɔn fri ɛn gɛt in yon rayt, nɔn wan nɔ pas in kɔmpin. That means: Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and justice.
If you want to say hello to someone, it means: Kushe. And Wetin na yu nem? means “What’s your name?” You then answer, for example, Mi nem Jemz. (“My name is James.”). By the way, the girl’s name is Titi and Bobo’s name is boy.
Languages of the People
But every people in Sierra Leone also has its own language. Since Temne and Mende make up more than 60 percent of the population, their languages are also the most widely spoken: Temne more in the west and north, Mende in the south and east.
Religions in Sierra Leone
71 percent of the population of Sierra Leone are Muslims, so they belong to Islam. Christians are 27 percent, the majority (18 percent) are Protestants. The remaining 2 percent follow traditional religions or do not profess any religion.