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Zambia Demographics Profile

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17,426,623 (July 2020 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: 45.74% (male 4,005,134/female 3,964,969)
15-24 years: 20.03% (male 1,744,843/female 1,746,561)
25-54 years: 28.96% (male 2,539,697/female 2,506,724)
55-64 years: 3.01% (male 242,993/female 280,804)
65 years and over: 2.27% (male 173,582/female 221,316) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 85.7
youth dependency ratio: 81.7
elderly dependency ratio: 4
potential support ratio: 25.3 (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 16.9 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 17 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.89% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
40.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
11.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
urban population: 44.6% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
2.774 million LUSAKA (capital) (2020)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 99.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
19.2 years (2013/14 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Infant mortality rate
total: 56 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 53.6 years
male: 51.9 years
female: 55.3 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
5.49 children born/woman (2020 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
49.5% (2018)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
12.1% (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
1.2 million (2019 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
17,000 (2019 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 89.5% of population
rural: 50.9% of population
total: 67.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 10.5% of population
rural: 49.1% of population
total: 32.5% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 69.6% of population
rural: 24.8% of population
total: 44.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 31.4% of population
rural: 75.2% of population
total: 55.9% of population (2017 est.)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
noun: Zambian(s)
adjective: Zambian
Ethnic groups
Bemba 21%, Tonga 13.6%, Chewa 7.4%, Lozi 5.7%, Nsenga 5.3%, Tumbuka 4.4%, Ngoni 4%, Lala 3.1%, Kaonde 2.9%, Namwanga 2.8%, Lunda (north Western) 2.6%, Mambwe 2.5%, Luvale 2.2%, Lamba 2.1%, Ushi 1.9%, Lenje 1.6%, Bisa 1.6%, Mbunda 1.2%, other 13.8%, unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)
Protestant 75.3%, Roman Catholic 20.2%, other 2.7% (includes Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, and Baha'i), none 1.8% (2010 est.)
Demographic profile

Zambia’s poor, youthful population consists primarily of Bantu-speaking people representing nearly 70 different ethnicities. Zambia’s high fertility rate continues to drive rapid population growth, averaging almost 3 percent annually between 2000 and 2010. The country’s total fertility rate has fallen by less than 1.5 children per woman during the last 30 years and still averages among the world’s highest, almost 6 children per woman, largely because of the country’s lack of access to family planning services, education for girls, and employment for women. Zambia also exhibits wide fertility disparities based on rural or urban location, education, and income. Poor, uneducated women from rural areas are more likely to marry young, to give birth early, and to have more children, viewing children as a sign of prestige and recognizing that not all of their children will live to adulthood. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Zambia and contributes to its low life expectancy.

Zambian emigration is low compared to many other African countries and is comprised predominantly of the well-educated. The small amount of brain drain, however, has a major impact in Zambia because of its limited human capital and lack of educational infrastructure for developing skilled professionals in key fields. For example, Zambia has few schools for training doctors, nurses, and other health care workers. Its spending on education is low compared to other Sub-Saharan countries.

Bemba 33.4%, Nyanja 14.7%, Tonga 11.4%, Lozi 5.5%, Chewa 4.5%, Nsenga 2.9%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda (North Western) 1.9%, Kaonde 1.8%, Lala 1.8%, Lamba 1.8%, English (official) 1.7%, Luvale 1.5%, Mambwe 1.3%, Namwanga 1.2%, Lenje 1.1%, Bisa 1%, other 9.7%, unspecified 0.2% (2010 est.)

note: Zambia is said to have over 70 languages, although many of these may be considered dialects; all of Zambia's major languages are members of the Bantu family; Chewa and Nyanja are mutually intelligible dialects

definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 86.7%
male: 90.6%
female: 83.1% (2018)
Education expenditures
Maternal mortality rate
213 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
11.8% (2018/19)
Health expenditures
4.5% (2017)
Physicians density
0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
8.1% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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