South Sudan Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

South Sudan: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, South Sudan has around 12.9 million residents, of which more than 500,000 live in the capital Juba. Difficulties in determining the population size more precisely are caused by the fact that around four million South Sudanese live in northern Sudan or abroad because of the civil war. It is estimated that three million of these refugees will gradually return to South Sudan.

The low life expectancy in the young Republic of South Sudan is due, among other things, to the fact that the country is one of the poorest developing countries in Africa and does not have social security or adequate medical care. Between 20 and 35% of the population are malnourished; and around 90% are illiterate.

Ethnic groups

The population of South Sudan consists for the most part of black Africans, in contrast to the north, where predominantly Arabs live. The largest and most influential ethnic group are the Dinka, who are counted among the Nilots. The Dinka are followed by the also Nilotic Nuer and Schilluk and the Azande.

Religious affiliation

While the north of Sudan is predominantly Muslim, mainly animists and Christians live in South Sudan. Those who convert to Christianity experience social advancement. In the Republic of Sudan, religious affiliation and social classification are almost identical. However, the Christianity of the young country is not free from influences from African religions. This also explains the diverse ways of living and interpreting faith. Most of the country’s Christians are Catholics and Anglicans. In recent years, however, more and more American evangelical groups have been gaining ground among them.

National language

According to the new transitional constitution of 2011, English was set as the sole official language of the Republic of South Sudan. In addition, Sudan Arabic is still very common as a lingua franca. Apart from English and Arabic, many languages of the Nilo-Saharan language family are used in the country. These include Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Schilluk. In the northwest of South Sudan, numerous languages are spoken that are kept alive by very small ethnic groups (= Fertit). In the south-west, the Niger-Congo family of languages are in use. This includes the Azande.

Capital and other cities

Juba (also Dschuba)

Juba, the capital of South Sudan, is little more than a huge village in which more than 500,000 people live. Historians are probably familiar with the city as the site of the Sudan Administration Conference (1947), at which the British and representatives of Northern Sudan decided to unite northern and southern Sudan; South Sudanese representatives were not present. Juba spreads out on the west bank of the Nile and is the final resting place of the revered leader of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Sudan, John Garang, who lies in a mausoleum near All Saints Cathedral. Thanks to the Juba Bridge, the city is connected across the Nile and with Uganda. According to Abbreviation Finder, SSD stands for South Sudan in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.


Bor, whose Arabic name Būr means “port” in its translation, is the capital of the southern Sudanese state of Jonglei. Located on the White Nile, the city was named after the Bor tribe and is currently inhabited by about 25,000 people In 1991 it was notorious when the so-called “Bor massacre” occurred there: the leader of a faction of the SPLA, Riek Machar, caused a bloodbath there, in which around 2,000 civilians were killed. The city, blessed with large oil reserves, is still waiting for the completion of the Jonglei Canal, which was supposed to connect Bor with Malakal, but could not be completed because of the civil war.


The capital of the Upper Nile state in the east of South Sudan is currently home to around 170,000 people. The city also has the oldest university in South Sudan, Juba University.

Although a large part of the teaching activities were relocated to Khartoum due to the civil war in 1989, the university has been in a process of return since independence.

Torit (also Torrit)

The capital of the state of Eastern Equatoria, also known as Torrit, is said to once contain the Supreme Court of South Sudan. A total of almost 18,000 people live in the city, which is divided into squares – the majority in round houses made of clay.

Warrap (also Warap)

The capital of the state of Warrap, which is directly bounded by the city of Bi’r Qurud, was so badly affected by the civil war that there are currently no population figures and the infrastructure is on the ground. The Maleit Lake, about 15 km to the south, is of great tourist interest.

South Sudan: geography, general map

South Sudan covers a total area of 619,745 km². The exact border to Northern Sudan has been determined, but has not yet been marked in parts. It can be said that the tributary of the Nile, Bahr al-Arab (Kiir), forms the north-western part of the border with Northern Sudan. However, the oil-rich Abyei area and numerous border regions that are fed by pastureland and raw material deposits are still controversial. This includes, for example, the enclave of Kafia Kingi. The affiliation of the Ilemi triangle in the extreme southeast is also problematic, because this area is also claimed by Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of South Sudan.

Area and boundaries

In terms of area, South Sudan is divided in such a way that it is characterized by savannahs and dry forests in the north and tropical rainforest in the south. A large and significant part of the country is covered by the so-called Sudd, a marshland fed by the Nile, which extends over an area of about 55,000 km² between the southern Sudanese cities of Bentiu, Bur and Waw as well as Lake No. The Sudd is by far the most fertile area of South Sudan and home to a wonderful flora, which is made up of papyrus, various marsh plants and tropical rainforest.

South Sudan shares a border with the following six countries.

  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Sudan
  • Uganda
  • Central Africa

South Sudan is a purely landlocked country and has no access to the sea.

Longitude and latitude

South Sudan extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 03 ° 20` to 12 ° 02` northern latitude Δλ = from around 024 ° 12` to 032 ° 23` eastern longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For South Sudan, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without summer time) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = + 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.



The highest mountain in the country is the Kinyeti with a height of 3,178 m. It rises in the Imatong Mountains, also Imatong or Matong.

Immatong Mountains The Immatong Mountains

in the southwest of Sudan stretch as far as Uganda. In addition to the Kinyeti, there are the Didinga Mountains with a height of 2,795 m and the 2,623 high Dongotono Mountains.

The villages and individual settlements are inhabited by the Acholi, Lotuko and Langi belonging to the Nilots, who practice subsistence farming and cattle breeding there. Unfortunately, the Immatong Mountains are used as a retreat by the Lord’s Resistance Army. These armed rebels are fighting against the government in northern Uganda and are also responsible for attacks in South Sudan.


White Nile

The longest river in the country is the White Nile with a total length of approx. 6,690 km. The river flows through South Sudan and also forms the marshland Sudd, which extends over an area of about 55,000 km² between the southern Sudanese cities of Bentiu, Bur and Waw as well as Lake No and is one of the most fertile regions of South Sudan.

Bahr al-Arab

The Bahr al-Arab (Kiir), a tributary of the Nile, is also important. It partially forms the natural border with Northern Sudan.



In the state of al-Wahda on the border with the state of Junqali, the approximately 100 km² No-See, a body of water located in the north of the swamp area of the Sudd, spreads out. The lake is created thanks to the flood water of the Bahr al-Jabal river. Together with the Bahr al-Ghazal, this forms the White Nile in Lake No.

Maleit Lake

In the southern Sudanese state of Warab is the 250 km² Maleit Lake, which is used by the people as a fishing ground.

South Sudan Population