Population of Rwanda 2017


Current population of Rwanda is 11,901,484 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: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic Groups

Hutu (Bantu), Tutsi (Hamitic), Twa (Pygmy)


Kinyarwanda only (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, Kinyarwanda and other language(s) 6.2%, French (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, English (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, Swahili (or Kiswahili, used in commercial centers) 0.02%, other 0.03%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)


Roman Catholic 49.5%, Protestant 39.4% (includes Adventist 12.2% and other Protestant 27.2%), other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 1.8%, animist 0.1%, other 0.6%, none 3.6% (2001), unspecified 0.5% (2002 est.)

Demographic Profile

Rwanda’s fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government’s commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda’s birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families’ ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation.

The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR’s decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 41.38% (male 2,485,386/female 2,439,101)
15-24 years: 19.34% (male 1,151,657/female 1,149,928)
25-54 years: 32.77% (male 1,845,501/female 2,054,410)
55-64 years: 4.09% (male 216,725/female 269,972)
65 years and over: 2.43% (male 113,822/female 174,982) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 77.3
youth dependency ratio: 72.4
elderly dependency ratio: 5
potential support ratio: 20.1 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 19 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19.2 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

2.5% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

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

Death Rate

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

Net Migration Rate

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

Population Distribution

one of Africa’s most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west


urban population: 30.7% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 5.59% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

KIGALI (capital) 1.257 million (2015)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

23 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014/15 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

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

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 56.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 60.1 years
male: 58.5 years
female: 61.7 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

3.87 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

53.2% (2014/15)

Health Expenditures

7.5% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital Bed Density

1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 86.6% of population
rural: 71.9% of population
total: 76.1% of population

urban: 13.4% of population
rural: 28.1% of population
total: 23.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 58.5% of population
rural: 62.9% of population
total: 61.6% of population

urban: 41.5% of population
rural: 37.1% of population
total: 38.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

3.1% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

220,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

3,300 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

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

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

3.3% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

11.7% (2011)

Education Expenditures

5% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.5%
male: 73.2%
female: 68% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2013)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 4.4%
male: 3.6%
female: 5.2% (2012 est.)
People –
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa