Demographics


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Rural schoolchildren participating in the USAID-funded Southern Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction project, July 2010.
South Sudan has a population of around 8 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period (1956), resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced persons or became refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts. Here the South Sudanese practice mainly indigenous traditional beliefs, although some practice Christianity, as a result of Christian missionary efforts. The south contains many tribal groups and uses many more languages than the north. The major ethnic groups present in South Sudan are the Dinka at more than 1 million (approximately 15 percent combined), the Nuer (approximately ten percent), the Bari, and the Azande. The Shilluk constitute a historically influential state along the White Nile, and their language is fairly closely related to Dinka and Nuer. The traditional territories of the Shilluk and the Northeastern Dinka are adjacent.