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Zimbabwe Demographics Profile 2019

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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

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.)
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.)
Median age
total: 20.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.4 years
Population growth rate
1.68% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
34 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
-7.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
urban population: 32.2% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 2.19% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
1.521 million HARARE (capital) (2019)
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.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
20 years (2015 est.)

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

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
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 61.1 years (2018 est.)
male: 59 years
female: 63.2 years
Total fertility rate
3.97 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
66.8% (2015)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
12.7% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
1.3 million (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
22,000 (2018 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.)
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.)
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)
noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups
African 99.4% (predominantly Shona; Ndebele is the second largest ethnic group), other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 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.)
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.

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)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 86.5%
male: 88.5%
female: 84.6% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2013)
Education expenditures
7.5% of GDP (2014)
Maternal mortality rate
458 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
8.5% (2015)
Health expenditures
10.3% (2015)
Physicians density
0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density
1.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
15.5% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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