Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 9.2%.

86.3% of women aged 15-49 believe the practice should not continue. 

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The departments with the highest prevalence are in the north; of Benin’s 12 departments, five record a prevalence of less than 1%


85.3% of women aged 15–49 who have undergone FGM were cut before the age of 15


‘Cut, flesh removed’ is the most common type of FGM practised


Almost all FGM is carried out by ‘traditional agents’ (including traditional cutters and birth attendants)

Development Indicators


12,427,818 (as of 8 June 2021), with a 2.69% growth rate (2021 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

31 deaths per 1,000 live births (2019)

Maternal Mortality Rate

397 deaths per 100,000 live births (2017)

Literacy Rate

42.4% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

The departments in Benin with the highest FGM prevalence are in the north:  Borgou (37.6%), Alibori (23.7%) and Donga (36.8%).  There is a significant difference between these departments and the rest of Benin: all remaining departments have a prevalence of below 10%, five of these (Atlantique, Couffo, Mono, Oueme and Zou have a prevalence of less than 1%. The department with the lowest prevalence is Couffo, in which no instances of FGM were recorded. FGM is more common in women living in rural areas (13.1%) than in those living in urban areas (5.2%).  

FGM appears to be practised more by Muslims than by people of other religions, and there is a wide variation in levels of practice between ethnic groups:  over 40% prevalence among the Bariba and Peulh, and less than 1% among the Adja and Fon.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Between 2006 and 2011/12, the overall prevalence for women aged 15–49 fell from 12.9% to 7.3%.  In 2014 the prevalence was recorded as 9.2%. Due to statistical fluctuations in the data, however, the most recent measurement of the prevalence is unlikely to reflect a true increase in the prevalence.

Due to the large age-range of women included in the DHS and MICS surveys, the overall prevalence alone may not fully reflect the progress that has been made in recent years. Breaking down the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 18.1%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to just 2.4%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data demonstrates a clear trend towards lower prevalences among younger women

FGM Legislation in Benin

The main law prohibiting FGM is Law no. 2003-03 on the Supression of Female Genital Mutilation in the Republic of Benin, which was issued in March 2003.  There is a lack of evidence, however, of any FGM cases being prosecuted under this law.

See Benin: The Law and FGM for more detail.

For the French translation, see Bénin : La Loi et Les MGF.


Research and resources for Benin