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2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
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Index / Peoples
Open map of MauritaniaFlag of MauritaniaMauritania /

Ethnic groups
Figures in 1000.
2,400 70.0%
1,400 40.0%
1,000 30.0%
20 0.6%
20 0.6%
350 10.0%
250 7.5%
150 4.5%
150 4.5%
100 3.0%
100 3.0%
15 0.4%

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Kids of Oualata. Photo: c.hug.


Mauritanian man.

The image of ethnic groups in Mauritania is somewhat complex and confusing, people are divided across more than just normal dividing lines of ethnic groups. One division line runs between blacks and whites, another between Moors and black peoples of sub-Saharan origins. Within the group of Moors, a majority are themselves blacks.
Other ethnic groups are divided into peoples and sub-groups of these peoples. The Wolof live around the city of Rosso; Fulani dispersed all over the south; Soninke in the extreme south; and the Toucouleur along the Senegal River valley.
About 47% of the population are registered as urban, 51% rural and 2% are nomads. But it must be underlined that cities of Mauritania in most cases are little developed, and is best compared large versions of villages in North Africa.
The Berber population listed here, the Lamtuna, represents a few problems of categorization. First, the figures given are merely a rough estimate, second, although they are Berbers, they make a claim on being an original tribe of Yemen. This claim can neither be confirmed nor disproved from available historical sources.

The actual composition of ethnic groups in Mauritania is actually not very well known, it is generally referred to routinely by "40% black Moors, 30% white Moors and 30% blacks". This representation appears not to be wrong, but with respect to the 30% blacks, there is much insecurity. Out of 1 million in total, the individual groups add up to less than half a million. This suggests only one thing: the quality of work on this matter by professionals is of extremely poor quality.
As there is no contradiction to the total number of It appears that the 1 million is correct, hence that the single groups are far larger than what they are referred to. LookLex here gives new estimates, greatly different from other sources, but our figures are correctly dimensioned no the total figures.

By Tore Kjeilen