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Traditionally a rural country, Senegal is becoming more and more urbanized.  Much of the population lives in the coastal cities of Dakar, Ziguinchor, and Saint-Louis; the former capital of colonial French West Africa.  The total population is estimated at about 10.000.000 and the annual population growth rate is 3.32%.   Senegalese are about 90% Muslim.  French is the official language and Wolof the principal African tongue..

The largest ethnic group of Senegal is composed of the Wolofs (36%). The Wolof society is organized in castes (princely families, nobility,farmers, hammersmiths, weavers, wood workers, leather workers, griots). The Wolofs are the largest part of the population in Dakar.  Their tongue is the main tongue spoken there.  Their dominating position in the country's economy and policy is at the root of a process of "wolofization" of the whole Senegalese society.

The Peul (10 %) live mainly in the central area of the country though they can also be met on the whole territory and beyond the frontiers they are a nomadic people, also known as Foulani, Foulbé, Poulo). Their origin is much debated.

The Sérère (19 % of the total population) live in the Saloum and "la Petite Côte".

The Diola (8 %) live in Lower Casamance (sub-groups : the Floup, Bliss, Karone, Fogny, Diougout, Diamant, Bayot and Essyle). The great majority is animist

Other smaller ethnic groups include the Madingue, the Lebou, the Soninke, and the Bassari.  There is also a considerable European and Lebanese minority in Senegal.