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Malawi Demographics Profile 2018

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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 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 46.34% (male 4,427,403/female 4,468,120)
15-24 years: 20.55% (male 1,956,360/female 1,988,123)
25-54 years: 27.41% (male 2,612,840/female 2,648,997)
55-64 years: 3.01% (male 275,998/female 302,286)
65 years and over: 2.69% (male 227,582/female 288,537) (2017 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 91
youth dependency ratio: 85.3
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
potential support ratio: 17.4 (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 16.5 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 16.7 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate3.31% (2017 est.)
Birth rate41 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 16.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 4.02% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - populationLILONGWE (capital) 905,000; Blantyre-Limbe 808,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth18.9 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2015/16 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 43.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 50 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 61.7 years
male: 59.7 years
female: 63.8 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate5.49 children born/woman (2017 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate59.2% (2015/16)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate9.2% (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS1 million (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths24,000 (2016 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 95.7% of population
rural: 89.1% of population
total: 90.2% of population
urban: 4.3% of population
rural: 10.9% of population
total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 47.3% of population
rural: 39.8% of population
total: 41% of population
urban: 52.7% of population
rural: 60.2% of population
total: 59% of population (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Nationalitynoun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
Ethnic groupsChewa 35.1%, Lomwe 18.9%, Yao 13.1%, Ngoni 12%, Tumbuka 9.4%, Sena 3.5%, Tonga 1.8%, Nyanja 1%, Nkhonde 0.9%, other 1.8% (2015-16 est.)
ReligionsProtestant 27.2% (includes Church of Central Africa Presbyterian 17.7%, Seventh Day Adventist/Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 2.6%), Catholic 18.4%, other Christian 41%, Muslim 12.1%, other 0.3%, none 1% (2015-16 est.)
Demographic profileMalawi has made great improvements in maternal and child health, but has made less progress in reducing its high fertility rate. In both rural and urban areas, very high proportions of mothers are receiving prenatal care and skilled birth assistance, and most children are being vaccinated. Malawi’s fertility rate, however, has only declined slowly, decreasing from more than 7 children per woman in the 1980s to about 5.5 today. Nonetheless, Malawians prefer smaller families than in the past, and women are increasingly using contraceptives to prevent or space pregnancies. Rapid population growth and high population density is putting pressure on Malawi’s land, water, and forest resources. Reduced plot sizes and increasing vulnerability to climate change, further threaten the sustainability of Malawi’s agriculturally based economy and will worsen food shortages. About 80% of the population is employed in agriculture.
Historically, Malawians migrated abroad in search of work, primarily to South Africa and present-day Zimbabwe, but international migration became uncommon after the 1970s, and most migration in recent years has been internal. During the colonial period, Malawians regularly migrated to southern Africa as contract farm laborers, miners, and domestic servants. In the decade and a half after independence in 1964, the Malawian Government sought to transform its economy from one dependent on small-scale farms to one based on estate agriculture. The resulting demand for wage labor induced more than 300,000 Malawians to return home between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. In recent times, internal migration has generally been local, motivated more by marriage than economic reasons.
LanguagesEnglish (official), Chichewa (common), Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chilomwe, Chinkhonde, Chingoni, Chisena, Chitonga, Chinyakyusa, Chilambya
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.1%
male: 69.8%
female: 55.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2011)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 993,318
percentage: 26% (2006 est.)
Education expenditures5.6% of GDP (2015)
Maternal mortality rate634 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight16.7% (2014)
Health expenditures11.4% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate5.8% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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