Population of Botswana 2017


Current population of Botswana is 2,214,858 people (July 2017 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 (July 2017 est.)


noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)

Ethnic Groups

Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%


Setswana 77.3%, Sekalanga 7.4%, Shekgalagadi 3.4%, English (official) 2.8%, Zezuru/Shona 2%, Sesarwa 1.7%, Sembukushu 1.6%, Ndebele 1%, other 2.8% (2011 est.)


Christian 79.1%, Badimo 4.1%, other 1.4% (includes Baha’i, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian), none 15.2%, unspecified 0.3% (2011 est.)

Demographic Profile

Botswana has experienced one of the most rapid declines in fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. The total fertility rate has fallen from more than 5 children per womanin the mid 1980s to approximately 2.4 in 2013. The fertility reduction has been attributed to a host of factors, including higher educational attainment among women, greater participation of women in the workforce, increased contraceptive use, later first births, and a strong national family planning program. Botswana was making significant progress in several health indicators, including life expectancy and infant and child mortality rates, until being devastated by the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 1990s.

Today Botswana has the third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world at approximately 22%, however comprehensive and effective treatment programs have reduced HIV/AIDS-related deaths. The combination of declining fertility and increasing mortality rates because of HIV/AIDS is slowing the population aging process, with anarrowing of the youngest age groups and little expansion of the oldest age groups. Nevertheless, having the bulk of its population (about 60%) of working age willonly yield economic benefits if the labor force is healthy, educated, and productively employed.

Batswana have been working as contract miners in South Africa since the 19th century. Although Botswana’s economy improved shortly after independence in 1966 with the discovery of diamonds and other minerals, its lingering high poverty rate and lack of job opportunities continued to push workers to seek mining work in southern African countries. In the early 1970s, about a third of Botswana’s male labor force worked in South Africa (lesser numbers went to Namibia and Zimbabwe). Not until the 1980s and 1990s, when South African mining companies had reduced their recruitment of foreign workers and Botswana’s economic prospects had improved, were Batswana increasingly able to find job opportunities at home.

Most Batswana prefer life in their home country and choose cross-border migration on a temporary basis only for work, shopping, visiting family, or tourism. Since the 1970s, Botswana has pursued an open migration policy enabling it to recruit thousands of foreign workers to fill skilled labor shortages. In the late 1990s, Botswana’s prosperity and political stability attracted not only skilled workers but small numbers of refugees from neighboring Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 31.95% (male 357,003/female 350,657)
15-24 years: 18.91% (male 207,209/female 211,629)
25-54 years: 38.45% (male 401,082/female 450,437)
55-64 years: 5.46% (male 51,195/female 69,835)
65 years and over: 5.23% (male 50,206/female 65,605) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 55.1
youth dependency ratio: 49.3
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8
potential support ratio: 17.3 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 23.2 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 23.1 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

1.6% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

22.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death Rate

9.6 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net Migration Rate

3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Population Distribution

the population is primarily concentrated in the east with a focus in and around the captial of Gaborone, and the far central-eastern city of Francistown; population density remains low in other areas in the country, especially in the Kalahari to the west


urban population: 58% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.38% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

GABORONE (capital) 247,000 (2014)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

19 years (2007 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

129 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 54.5 years
male: 56.3 years
female: 52.6 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

2.56 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate


note: percent of women aged 12-49 (2007/08)

Health Expenditures

5.4% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital Bed Density

1.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 99.2% of population
rural: 92.3% of population
total: 96.2% of population

urban: 0.8% of population
rural: 7.7% of population
total: 3.8% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 78.5% of population
rural: 43.1% of population
total: 63.4% of population

urban: 21.5% of population
rural: 56.9% of population
total: 36.6% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

21.9% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

360,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

3,900 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

19.5% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

11.2% (2008)

Education Expenditures

9.6% of GDP (2009)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.5%
male: 88%
female: 88.9% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2013)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 45,036
percentage: 9%

note: data represent children ages 7-17 (2006 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 36%
male: 29.6%
female: 43.5% (2010 est.)