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Zambia Demographics Profile

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Population19,077,816 (July 2021 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
Nationalitynoun: Zambian(s)

adjective: Zambian
Ethnic groupsBemba 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.)
LanguagesBemba 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
ReligionsProtestant 75.3%, Roman Catholic 20.2%, other 2.7% (includes Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, and Baha'i), none 1.8% (2010 est.)
Age structure0-14 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 ratiostotal dependency ratio: 85.7

youth dependency ratio: 81.7

elderly dependency ratio: 4

potential support ratio: 25.3 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 16.9 years

male: 16.7 years

female: 17 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate2.93% (2021 est.)
Birth rate35.23 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate6.24 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionone of the highest levels of urbanization in Africa; high density in the central area, particularly around the cities of Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, and Mufulira as shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 45.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 4.15% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population2.906 million LUSAKA (capital) (2021)
Sex ratioat 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: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.2 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 20-49
Maternal mortality rate213 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 37.91 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 41.44 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 65.92 years

male: 64.15 years

female: 67.75 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate4.63 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate49.6% (2018)
Drinking water sourceimproved: 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.)
Health expenditures4.9% (2018)
Physicians density1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2018)
Hospital bed density2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: 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.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate11.1% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS1.5 million (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths24,000 (2020 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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
Obesity - adult prevalence rate8.1% (2016)
Food insecuritysevere localized food insecurity: due to reduced incomes - the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have aggravated food insecurity across the country, particularly due to income reductions that have constrained households’ economic access to food; cereal production is estimated at a bumper high in 2021 and, as a result, overall food security is expected to improve compared to the previous year (2021)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11.8% (2018/19)
Education expenditures4.6% of GDP NA (2018)
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.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write English

total population: 86.7%

male: 90.6%

female: 83.1% (2018)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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