The population of Mali in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 13,007,000, which placed it as number 64 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 47% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 3.00%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 18,986,000. The population density in 2002 was 9 per sq km (24 per sq mi), but the western quarter of the country has three-quarters of the population, and along the Niger River, population density exceeds 500 per sq km (1,300 per sq mi). By contrast fewer than 1.5 people per square km (4 per sq mi) live in the northern three-fifths of Mali.
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 30% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. About 10% of the inhabitants are nomadic, and the remainder rural. The capital city, Bamako, had a population of 1,083,000 in that year. Other important towns are Ségou, Mopti, Sikasso, and Kayes. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 4.6%.