Demographics of Lesotho

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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.

Population[edit]

Historical population of Lesotho (Food and Agriculture Organization data), year 2005; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

According to the 2006 census, Lesotho has a total population of 1,872,721.[1] Of the population, 23.74 percent lived in urban and 76.26 percent in rural areas.[1] 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.[1]

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.[2] The annual population growth rate is estimated at 0.13%[2]

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 .[3]

Total population (x 1000) Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 734 40.7 54.9 4.5
1955 788 41.9 53.7 4.4
1960 852 43.1 52.7 4.3
1965 934 43.6 52.2 4.2
1970 1 033 44.1 51.8 4.2
1975 1 150 44.5 51.3 4.2
1980 1 310 44.3 51.6 4.1
1985 1 487 44.3 51.6 4.1
1990 1 639 44.1 51.7 4.2
1995 1 795 43.1 52.5 4.4
2000 1 964 41.2 54.3 4.5
2005 2 066 39.6 56.0 4.4
2010 2 171 37.4 58.3 4.3

Structure of the population [4][edit]

Structure of the population (13.04.2006) (Census, complete tabulation) :

Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 904 392 958 468 1 862 860 100
0-4 101 397 100 598 201 995 10,84
5-9 106 695 105 252 211 947 11,38
10-14 110 778 110 160 220 938 11,86
15-19 114 800 114 589 229 389 12,31
20-24 101 385 105 677 207 062 11,12
25-29 82 202 82 665 164 867 8,85
30-34 60 107 59 423 119 530 6,42
35-39 45 645 47 845 93 490 5,02
40-44 39 596 43 703 83 299 4,47
45-49 34 102 38 519 72 621 3,90
50-54 28 723 34 361 63 084 3,39
55-59 23 225 26 923 50 148 2,69
60-64 16 724 20 975 37 699 2,02
65-69 13 369 18 659 32 028 1,72
70-74 13 380 22 229 35 609 1,91
75-79 6 327 11 814 18 141 0,97
80-84 3 251 7 247 10 498 0,56
85+ 2 686 7 829 10 515 0,56
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0-14 318 870 316 010 634 880 34,08
15-64 546 509 574 680 1 121 189 60,19
65+ 39 013 67 778 106 791 5,73

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Lesotho not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [3]

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)

Fertility and Births[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (Wanted Fertility Rate) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[5]


Year CBR (Total) TFR (Total) CBR (Urban) TFR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Rural)
2004 25,3 3,5 (2,5) 19,3 1,9 (1,4) 26,7 4,1 (2,9)
2009 26,4 3,3 (2,4) 24,5 2,1 (1,7) 27,1 4,0 (2,8)
2014 24,3 3,3 23,3 2,3 24,7 3,9

Ethnic groups and languages[edit]

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.[2] 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.[6]

Sesotho (Southern Sotho) and English languages are both official.[2] Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and French are also spoken.

Religion[edit]

Main article: Religion in Lesotho

The population of Lesotho is estimated to be around 90 percent Christian.[7] Roman Catholics, the largest religious group, make up around 45 percent of the population.[7] Evangelicals comprise 26 percent of the population, and Anglican and other Christian groups an additional 19 percent.[7] Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i, and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10 percent of the population.[7]

Education and literacy[edit]

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.[2] 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.[8] In addition, the country has almost 20 other public and 15 private institutes giving tertiary education.[8]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.