Lagoon in Cotonou
Map highlighting the Littoral Department
|Coordinates: 6°22′N 2°26′E / 6.367°N 2.433°ECoordinates: 6°22′N 2°26′E / 6.367°N 2.433°E|
|• Total||79 km2 (31 sq mi)|
|Population (2013 census)|
|• Density||8,600/km2 (22,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Littoral is one of the twelve departments of Benin. Littoral is the smallest department of all of the twelve in the country, as well as the most cosmopolitan. The area is 79 km2 (31 sq mi). The département of Littoral was created in 1999 by splitting territories from Atlantique Department.
Per 2013 census, the total population of the department was 679,012 with 325,872 males and 353,140 females. The proportion of women was 52.00 per cent. The total rural population was 0.00 percent, while the urban population was 100.00 per cent. The total labour force in the department was 253,892 out of which 46.00 per cent were women. The proportion of households with no level of education was 21.10.
The coastal areas have interconnected lakes and lagoons and elongated coastlines with wide marsh. Freshwater and seawater fishing is the major profession in the region. Petroleum was discovered in the 60s in offshore areas, while titanium, low quality iron ore, ilmenite and chromite are the major minerals. The southern regions receive two spells from March to July and September to November while the northern regions of the country receive one season of rainfall from May to September. The country receives an average annual rainfall of around 1,200 mm (47 in), but the region in the department receives relatively lesser rainfall. The department has mostly low-lying sandy coastal plains towards Atlantic Ocean, marshes, lagoons and lakes. The highest elevation in the department around the coastal plains is 20 m (66 ft) compared to the average 200 m (660 ft) above average mean sea level of the country.
Per 2013 census, the total population of the department was 679,012 with 325,872 males and 353,140 females. The proportion of women was 52.00 per cent. The total rural population was 0.00 percent, while the urban population was 100.00 per cent. The proportion of women in child bearing age of 15 to 49 years was 28.00 per cent. The total foreign population in the department was 57,516 which formed 8.50 per cent of the total population in the department. The proportion of assets of foreigners aged 10+ years was 41.10 per cent, while for the people aged 15-64 years, it was 40.70 per cent. The proportion of women in foreign population constituted 48.90 per cent. The number of households in the department was 166,433 and the average household size was 4.1. The intercensal growth rate of population was 0.20 per cent.
The average age of women during first marriage in the department was 23.4 and the average age at maternity was 29. The synthetic index of fertility of women was 3.7. The average number of kernels in a house was 1.1 and the average number of persons in a room was 1.7. The total labour force in the department was 253,892 out of which 46.00 per cent were women. The proportion of households with no level of education was 21.10 and the proportion of households with children attending school was 88.50. The crude birth rate was 33.6, general rate of fertility was 120.10 and the gross reproduction rate was 1.80.
The département of Littoral was created in 1999 when it was split off from Atlantique Department and Contou was made the capital. It is the smallest of all departments in the country. Littoral is only subdivided into just one commune/city, Cotonou, the largest in the country and the economic capital; which is further subdivided into 13 arrondissements; which are further subdivided into 165 neighborhoods. Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, was a French colony till 1894. It gained independence during 1960 and was admitted to the United Nations. From 1960 to 1972, there was political instability with frequent change of leadership. Benin originally had six administrative divisions, but was further bifurcated to make it 12. Each de-concentrated administrative services, called directions départementales(DD) of the sectoral ministries, take care of two administrative regions. A law passed during 1999 empowered the territorial administration to local governments. Municipalities and communal councils have elected representatives who manage the administration of the regions. The latest elections of the municipal and communal councils were held during June 2015.
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