Largest Ethnic Groups In Burkina Faso

Women and men walking in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Editorial credit: MattLphotography /
Women and men walking in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Editorial credit: MattLphotography /

Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa.It covers approximately an area of 105,900 square miles and has a population of 17.3 million. It is a multi-ethnic country with more than 27 ethnic groups. The Mossi is the largest ethnic group and make up approximately 50.2% of the population. Most ethnic groups in the southern and central parts of country practice farming, artistry and metal work. The northern part is inhabited by the nomadic communities.This article discusses some of the major ethnic groups in the country.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Burkina Faso


The Mossi people are natives of Burkina Faso and live in the former Upper Volta of the country. They are the largest ethnic group in the country and make up 50.2% of the entire population. They came into existence as a direct descent of the Maprussi people, and their history and establishment of the Mossi kingdom cannot be precisely determined as it had been kept as an oral tradition.


The Fulani people, also known as Fula or Fulbe people constitute approximately 9.4% of the entire population.They are the largest widely spread Muslim ethnic group in Burkina Faso. They are bound together by their common language, culture, traditions, religion, and aim to spread Islam in West Africa. They originated from Northwest Africa and the Middle East who intermarried with the locals in Upper Volta.


The Bobo people constitute 5.9% of the entire c population living in the town of Bobo-Dioulasso and its surrounding areas. They mainly speak the Bobo language as well as Mande language belonging to a neighboring ethnic group of Mande People. Farming and agriculture form part of their day-to-day activities and act as the primary source of income for the Bobo.


The Gurma people living in Burkina Faso are also known as the Gourma or Gourmantche constitute 5.8% of the entire population. They are mainly found in the Fada N’Gourma region in Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Niger. They speak the Gurma and Gur Language.


The Mande People is an ethnic group widespread in the western part of Africa in fifteen countries. It forms 5.3% of the entire Burkina Faso’s population and speaks the Mande languages. They are majorly Sunni Islam’s but still adhere to the traditional African beliefs to some extent.


The Senufo people, also known as the Siena, Senefo, Sene, and Bamana, live in the western part of Burkina Faso. They are widely known for their creativity featuring cultural themes and religious beliefs in as much as a large percentage of their population are atheists with only a few following the Muslim’s way of life. They constitute 4.9% of Burkina Faso’s population.


The Gurunsi or Grunshi people are situated at the southern part of Burkina Faso. Their history cannot be precisely known because it has been kept as an oral tradition, but they are believed to have originate from western Sudan. They speak Gur , English, and French. They make up 4.8% of the entire population.


The Lobi people originally came from Ghana and settled in Southern Burkina Faso in 1770 after the Mossi settled in the North. They form 4.7% of Burkina Faso’s population and speak the Lobiri Language.


The Tuareg people inhabit the Sahara desert stretching from southern Libya, southern Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. They speak the Tuareg languages and are nomadic pastoralist. They constitute 2.5% of the country’s entire population.

Other Ethnic Groups In Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is home to approximately twenty-six ethnic groups. The nine discussed above form a larger percentage of the entire population. others including the Soninke people and Zarma people.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Burkina Faso

RankEthnic GroupShare of Population in Burkina Faso

Other Ethic Groups6.5%

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