Demographics of Lesotho
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Lesotho, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
The Demographics of Lesotho describe the condition and overview of Lesotho's peoples. Demographic topics include basic education, health, and population statistics as well as identified racial and religious affiliations.
According to the 2006 census, Lesotho has a total population of 1,872,721. Of the population, 23.74 percent lived in urban and 76.26 percent in rural areas. The country's capital, Maseru, accounts for around half of the total urban population. The sex distribution is 911,848 male and 960,873 female, or around 95 males for each 100 females.
The average population density in the country is around 61,7 people per square kilometer. The density is lower in the highlands than in the western lowlands. Although the majority of the population—59.8 percent—is between 15 and 64 years of age, Lesotho has a substantial youth population numbering around 35.3 percent. The annual population growth rate is estimated at 0.13%
According to the 2010 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 2 171 000 in 2010, compared to only 734 000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 37.4%, 58.3% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 4.3% was 65 years or older .
|Total population (x 1000)||Population aged 0–14 (%)||Population aged 15–64 (%)||Population aged 65+ (%)|
Registration of vital events is in Lesotho not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. 
|Period||Live births per year||Deaths per year||Natural change per year||CBR*||CDR*||NC*||TFR*||IMR*|
|1950-1955||32 000||17 000||15 000||42.1||22.7||19.4||5.84||169|
|1955-1960||35 000||17 000||18 000||42.2||20.3||21.9||5.86||150|
|1960-1965||38 000||16 000||21 000||42.3||18.3||24.0||5.81||134|
|1965-1970||42 000||17 000||24 000||42.5||17.8||24.8||5.80||130|
|1970-1975||47 000||18 000||28 000||42.8||16.9||26.0||5.80||123|
|1975-1980||52 000||19 000||33 000||42.0||15.1||27.0||5.69||110|
|1980-1985||56 000||18 000||38 000||40.4||13.0||27.4||5.46||94|
|1985-1990||59 000||18 000||41 000||37.6||11.6||26.0||5.14||84|
|1990-1995||60 000||17 000||42 000||34.7||10.0||24.7||4.70||70|
|1995-2000||63 000||25 000||38 000||33.7||13.5||20.2||4.37||81|
|2000-2005||62 000||36 000||26 000||30.7||17.9||12.8||3.79||86|
|2005-2010||60 000||35 000||25 000||28.5||16.7||11.9||3.37||77|
|* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)|
Ethnic groups and languages
Due to Lesotho's long history as a unified nation, that continued even through British colonial rule, the ethnic makeup of the country is very homogenous. Lesotho's ethno-linguistic structure consists almost entirely of the Basotho (singular Mosotho), a Bantu-speaking people: an estimate of 99.7 percent of the people identify as Basotho. The Kwena (Bakoena) are the largest subgroup of the Sotho; other Basotho subgroups include the Natal (North) Nguni, Batloung (the Tlou), Baphuthi (the Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (the Tau), Bats'oeneng (the tso'ene) and the Cape (South) Nguni (Thembu). Other ethnic groups include Europeans, numbering in the thousands, and several hundred Asians.
The population of Lesotho is estimated to be around 90 percent Christian. Roman Catholics, the largest religious group, make up around 45 percent of the population. Evangelicals comprise 26 percent of the population, and Anglican and other Christian groups an additional 19 percent. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i, and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10 percent of the population.
Education and literacy
According to recent estimates, 85 percent of the population 15 and over was literate. Among women the literacy rate was around 95 percent, and among men around 75 percent. As such, Lesotho boasts one of the higher literacy rates in Africa. Although education is not compulsory, the Government of Lesotho is incrementally implementing a programme for free primary education. It was expected that the program would be fully in place by 2006. The National University of Lesotho located in Roma is the only university in the country. In addition, the country has almost 20 other public and 15 private institutes giving tertiary education.
- "2006 census". Lesotho Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- CIA. "CIA - The World Factbook - Lesotho". Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
- Commonwealth Secretariat (2004). The Commonwealth Yearbook. p. 181. ISBN 0-11-703227-1.
- "International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Lesotho". United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- Matora Ntimo-Makara. "INHEA: Lesotho higher education profile". The Boston College Center for International Higher Education. Retrieved 2008-04-15.