Zimbabwe vs. Botswana


14,030,368 (July 2018 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

2,249,104 (July 2018 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure
0-14 years: 38.62% (male 2,681,192 /female 2,736,876)
15-24 years: 20.42% (male 1,403,715 /female 1,461,168)
25-54 years: 32.22% (male 2,286,915 /female 2,234,158)
55-64 years: 4.24% (male 233,021 /female 361,759)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 255,704 /female 375,860) (2018 est.)
0-14 years: 31.48% (male 357,175 /female 350,775)
15-24 years: 18.7% (male 207,611 /female 212,874)
25-54 years: 38.88% (male 412,475 /female 462,013)
55-64 years: 5.61% (male 53,653 /female 72,617)
65 years and over: 5.33% (male 51,304 /female 68,607) (2018 est.)
Median age
total: 20.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.4 years
total: 24.9 years (2018 est.)
male: 23.8 years
female: 26 years
Population growth rate
1.68% (2018 est.)
1.52% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
34 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
21.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
9.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
-7.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.64 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.74 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 31.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 35.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27.7 deaths/1,000 live births
total: 28.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 31.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 26 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 61.1 years (2018 est.)
male: 59 years
female: 63.2 years
total population: 63.8 years (2018 est.)
male: 61.8 years
female: 66 years
Total fertility rate
3.97 children born/woman (2018 est.)
2.53 children born/woman (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
12.7% (2018 est.)
20.3% (2018 est.)
noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean
noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
Ethnic groups
African 99.4% (predominantly Shona; Ndebele is the second largest ethnic group), other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 est.)
Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
1.3 million (2018 est.)
370,000 (2018 est.)
Protestant 74.8% (includes Apostolic 37.5%, Pentecostal 21.8%, other 15.5%), Roman Catholic 7.3%, other Christian 5.3%, traditional 1.5%, Muslim 0.5%, other 0.1%, none 10.5% (2015 est.)
Christian 79.1%, Badimo 4.1%, other 1.4% (includes Baha'i, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian), none 15.2%, unspecified 0.3% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
22,000 (2018 est.)
4,800 (2018 est.)
Shona (official; most widely spoken), Ndebele (official, second most widely spoken), English (official; traditionally used for official business), 13 minority languages (official; includes Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa)
Setswana 77.3%, Sekalanga 7.4%, Shekgalagadi 3.4%, English (official) 2.8%, Zezuru/Shona 2%, Sesarwa 1.7%, Sembukushu 1.6%, Ndebele 1%, other 2.8% (2011 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 86.5%
male: 88.5%
female: 84.6% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.5%
male: 88%
female: 88.9% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: high (2016)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever (2016)
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis (2016)
animal contact diseases: rabies (2016)
degree of risk: high (2019)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2019)
vectorborne diseases: malaria (2019)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2013)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2013)
Education expenditures
7.5% of GDP (2014)
9.6% of GDP (2009)
urban population: 32.2% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 2.19% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 70.2% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 2.87% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 97% of population
rural: 67.3% of population
total: 76.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 3% of population
rural: 32.7% of population
total: 23.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 99.2% of population
rural: 92.3% of population
total: 96.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 0.8% of population
rural: 7.7% of population
total: 3.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 49.3% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 30.8% of population (2015 est.)
total: 36.8% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 50.7% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 69.2% of population (2015 est.)
total: 63.2% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 78.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 43.1% of population (2015 est.)
total: 63.4% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 21.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 56.9% of population (2015 est.)
total: 36.6% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - population
1.521 million HARARE (capital) (2019)
269,000 GABORONE (capital) (2018)
Maternal mortality rate
458 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
144 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Health expenditures
10.3% (2015)
5.5% (2016)
Physicians density
0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
1.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
1.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
15.5% (2016)
18.9% (2016)
Demographic profile

Zimbabwe’s progress in reproductive, maternal, and child health has stagnated in recent years. According to a 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, contraceptive use, the number of births attended by skilled practitioners, and child mortality have either stalled or somewhat deteriorated since the mid-2000s. Zimbabwe’s total fertility rate has remained fairly stable at about 4 children per woman for the last two decades, although an uptick in the urban birth rate in recent years has caused a slight rise in the country’s overall fertility rate. Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence rate dropped from approximately 29% to 15% since 1997 but remains among the world’s highest and continues to suppress the country’s life expectancy rate. The proliferation of HIV/AIDS information and prevention programs and personal experience with those suffering or dying from the disease have helped to change sexual behavior and reduce the epidemic.

Historically, the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s migration has been internal – a rural-urban flow. In terms of international migration, over the last 40 years Zimbabwe has gradually shifted from being a destination country to one of emigration and, to a lesser degree, one of transit (for East African illegal migrants traveling to South Africa). As a British colony, Zimbabwe attracted significant numbers of permanent immigrants from the UK and other European countries, as well as temporary economic migrants from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Although Zimbabweans have migrated to South Africa since the beginning of the 20th century to work as miners, the first major exodus from the country occurred in the years before and after independence in 1980. The outward migration was politically and racially influenced; a large share of the white population of European origin chose to leave rather than live under a new black-majority government.

In the 1990s and 2000s, economic mismanagement and hyperinflation sparked a second, more diverse wave of emigration. This massive out migration – primarily to other southern African countries, the UK, and the US – has created a variety of challenges, including brain drain, illegal migration, and human smuggling and trafficking. Several factors have pushed highly skilled workers to go abroad, including unemployment, lower wages, a lack of resources, and few opportunities for career growth.

Botswana has experienced one of the most rapid declines in fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. The total fertility rate has fallen from more than 5 children per woman in the mid 1980s to approximately 2.4 in 2013. The fertility reduction has been attributed to a host of factors, including higher educational attainment among women, greater participation of women in the workforce, increased contraceptive use, later first births, and a strong national family planning program. Botswana was making significant progress in several health indicators, including life expectancy and infant and child mortality rates, until being devastated by the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 1990s.

Today Botswana has the third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world at approximately 22%, however comprehensive and effective treatment programs have reduced HIV/AIDS-related deaths. The combination of declining fertility and increasing mortality rates because of HIV/AIDS is slowing the population aging process, with a narrowing of the youngest age groups and little expansion of the oldest age groups. Nevertheless, having the bulk of its population (about 60%) of working age will only yield economic benefits if the labor force is healthy, educated, and productively employed.

Batswana have been working as contract miners in South Africa since the 19th century. Although Botswana’s economy improved shortly after independence in 1966 with the discovery of diamonds and other minerals, its lingering high poverty rate and lack of job opportunities continued to push workers to seek mining work in southern African countries. In the early 1970s, about a third of Botswana’s male labor force worked in South Africa (lesser numbers went to Namibia and Zimbabwe). Not until the 1980s and 1990s, when South African mining companies had reduced their recruitment of foreign workers and Botswana’s economic prospects had improved, were Batswana increasingly able to find job opportunities at home.

Most Batswana prefer life in their home country and choose cross-border migration on a temporary basis only for work, shopping, visiting family, or tourism. Since the 1970s, Botswana has pursued an open migration policy enabling it to recruit thousands of foreign workers to fill skilled labor shortages. In the late 1990s, Botswana’s prosperity and political stability attracted not only skilled workers but small numbers of refugees from neighboring Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 79.5 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 74.4 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.1 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 19.7 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 55.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 49.3 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 17.3 (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook