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 2016 census, Lesotho has a total population of 2,007,201.[1] Of the population, 34.17 percent lived in urban and 65.83 percent in rural areas.[1] The country's capital, Maseru, accounts for around half of the total urban population; the sex distribution is 982,133 male and 1,025,068 female, or around 96 males for each 100 females.[1]

The average population density in the country is around 66,1 people per square kilometer; the density is lower in the Lesotho Highlands than in the western lowlands. Although the majority of the population—56.1 percent—is between 15 and 64 years of age, Lesotho has a substantial youth population numbering around 37.8 percent.[2] The annual population growth rate is estimated at 0.13%[2]

According to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects[3] the total population was 2,203,821 in 2016, 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 .[4]

Total population Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 734 000 40.7 54.9 4.5
1955 788 000 41.9 53.7 4.4
1960 852 000 43.1 52.7 4.3
1965 934 000 43.6 52.2 4.2
1970 1 033 000 44.1 51.8 4.2
1975 1 150 000 44.5 51.3 4.2
1980 1 310 000 44.3 51.6 4.1
1985 1 487 000 44.3 51.6 4.1
1990 1 639 000 44.1 51.7 4.2
1995 1 795 000 43.1 52.5 4.4
2000 1 964 000 41.2 54.3 4.5
2005 2 066 000 39.6 56.0 4.4
2010 2 171 000 37.4 58.3 4.3

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Lesotho not complete; the Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [4]

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 (2,3) 23,3 2,3 (1,7) 24,7 3,9 (2,7)

Fertility data as of 2014 (DHS Program):[6]

District Total fertility rate Percentage of women age 15-49 currently pregnant Mean number of children ever born to women age 40-49
Butha-Buthe 3.7 4.7 3.9
Leribe 3.5 3.6 3.7
Berea 3.1 3.5 3.7
Maseru 2.6 4.4 3.5
Mafeteng 2.8 6.1 3.5
Mohale’s Hoek 3.8 3.8 3.7
Quthing 3.9 3.3 4.1
Qacha’s Nek 2.9 5.0 3.8
Mokhotlong 4.4 5.2 4.9
Thaba-Tseka 4.0 4.3 4.6

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

Life expectancy from 1950 to 2015 (UN World Population Prospects)[7]:

Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 42.15
1955–1960 Increase 45.08
1960–1965 Increase 47.80
1965–1970 Increase 48.52
1970–1975 Increase 49.80
1975–1980 Increase 52.24
1980–1985 Increase 55.28
1985–1990 Increase 57.33
1990–1995 Increase 59.70
1995–2000 Decrease 52.74
2000–2005 Decrease 45.62
2005–2010 Increase 49.04
2010–2015 Increase 52.51

Other demographic statistics[edit]

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in 2019.[8]

  • One birth every 9 minutes
  • One death every 19 minutes
  • One net migrant every 131 minutes
  • Net gain of one person every 18 minutes

The following demographic are from the CIA World Factbook[9] unless otherwise indicated.

Population[edit]

1,962,461 (July 2018 est.)

Age structure[edit]

Population pyramid of Lesotho in 2017
0-14 years: 31.84% (male 314,155 /female 310,772)
15-24 years: 19.34% (male 181,332 /female 198,236)
25-54 years: 38.27% (male 366,652 /female 384,333)
55-64 years: 5.02% (male 52,490 /female 46,016)
65 years and over: 5.53% (male 55,804 /female 52,671) (2018 est.)

Median age[edit]

total: 24.4 years. Country comparison to the world: 164th
male: 24.4 years
female: 24.3 years (2018 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

0.24% (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 178th

Birth rate[edit]

24.2 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 52nd

Death rate[edit]

15.1 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)

Total fertility rate[edit]

2.59 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 72nd

Mother's mean age at first birth[edit]

21 years (2014 est.)
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Contraceptive prevalence rate[edit]

60.2% (2014)

Net migration rate[edit]

-6.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 203rd

Religions[edit]

Protestant 47.8% (Pentecostal 23.1%, Lesotho Evangelical 17.3%, Anglican 7.4%), Roman Catholic 39.3%, other Christian 9.1%, non-Christian 1.4%, none 2.3% (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios[edit]

total dependency ratio: 66.9 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 59.5 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 7.4 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 13.5 (2015 est.)

Urbanization[edit]

urban population: 28.2% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 2.83% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

total population: 53 years (2018 est.)
male: 53 years (2018 est.)
female: 53.1 years (2018 est.)

Literacy[edit]

definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)

total population: 79.4% (2015 est.)
male: 70.1% (2015 est.)
female: 88.3% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)[edit]

total: 11 years (2015)
male: 10 years (2015)
female: 11 years (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24[edit]

total: 34.4% (2013 est.)
male: NA (2013 est.)
female: NA (2013 est.)

Ethnic groups and languages[edit]

Ethnic groups in Lesotho[10]
Ethnic groups
Sotho
99.7%
Europeans, Asians and Other
0.3%

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.[11]

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

Religion[edit]

The population of Lesotho is estimated to be around 90 percent Christian.[12] Roman Catholics, the largest religious group, make up around 45 percent of the population.[12] Evangelicals comprise 26 percent of the population, and Anglican and other Christian groups an additional 19 percent.[12] Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i, and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10 percent of the population.[12]

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 and the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology located in the heart of Maseru, Moshoeshoe 2 are the only universities in the country.[13] In addition, the country has almost 20 other public and 15 private institutes giving tertiary education.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2016 census" (PDF). Lesotho Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e CIA. "CIA - The World Factbook - Lesotho". Retrieved 2008-04-15.
  3. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision Archived May 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Demographic and Health Surveys
  6. ^ http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR309/FR309.pdf
  7. ^ "World Population Prospects – Population Division – United Nations". Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  8. ^ "Lesotho Population 2019", World Population Review
  9. ^ "The World FactBook - Lesotho", The World Factbook, July 12, 2018 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ "Africa :: LESOTHO". CIA The World Factbook.
  11. ^ Commonwealth Secretariat (2004). The Commonwealth Yearbook. p. 181. ISBN 0-11-703227-1.
  12. ^ a b c d "International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Lesotho". United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
  13. ^ a b Matora Ntimo-Makara. "INHEA: Lesotho higher education profile". The Boston College Center for International Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.