The population of The Gambia in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 1,426,000, which placed it as number 145 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 45% 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 2.66%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 1,851,000. The government's objectives are to substantially reduce population growth by lowering the fertility and mortality rates through family planning and maternal child health services. The population density in 2002 was 129 per sq km (334 per sq mi).
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 32% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. The capital city, Banjul, had a population of 229,000 in that year. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000– 2005 was 4.0%. The majority of the population lives near the Atlantic coast with the interior of the country sparsely populated.