Population of Swaziland 2017


Current population of Swaziland is 1,467,152 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: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi

Ethnic Groups

African 97%, European 3%


English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)


Christian 90% (Zionist – a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship – 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, other 30% – includes Anglican, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness), Muslim 2%, other 8% (includes Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, indigenous religionist, Jewish) (2015 est.)

Demographic Profile

Swaziland, a small, predominantly rural, landlocked country surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, suffers from severe poverty and the world’s highest HIV/AIDSprevalence rate. A weak and deteriorating economy, high unemployment, rapid population growth, and an uneven distribution of resources all combine to worsen already persistent poverty and food insecurity, especially in rural areas. Erratic weather (frequent droughts and intermittent heavy rains and flooding), overuse of smallplots, the overgrazing of cattle, and outdated agricultural practices reduce crop yields and further degrade the environment, exacerbating Swaziland’s poverty and subsistence problems. Swaziland’s extremely high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate – more than 28% of adults have the disease – compounds these issues. Agricultural production has declined due to HIV/AIDS, as the illness causes households to lose manpower and to sell livestock and other assets to pay for medicine and funerals.

Swazis, mainly men from the country’s rural south, have been migrating to South Africa to work in coal, and later gold, mines since the late 19th century. Althoughthe number of miners abroad has never been high in absolute terms because of Swaziland’s small population, the outflow has had important social and economic repercussions. The peak of mining employment in South Africa occurred during the 1980s. Cross-border movement has accelerated since the 1990s, as increasing unemployment has pushed more Swazis to look for work in South Africa (creating a “brain drain” in the health and educational sectors); southern Swazi men have continued to pursue mining, although the industry has downsized. Women now make up an increasing share of migrants and dominate cross-border trading in handicrafts, using the proceeds to purchase goods back in Swaziland. Much of today’s migration, however, is not work-related but focuses on visits to family and friends, tourism, and shopping.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 35.01% (male 259,646/female 253,976)
15-24 years: 22.12% (male 164,117/female 160,478)
25-54 years: 34.6% (male 264,262/female 243,362)
55-64 years: 4.3% (male 25,319/female 37,763)
65 years and over: 3.97% (male 22,113/female 36,116) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 68.8
youth dependency ratio: 63.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
potential support ratio: 19.1 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 21.4 years
male: 21.2 years
female: 21.7 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

1.1% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

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

Death Rate

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

Net Migration Rate

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

Population Distribution

because of its mountainous terrain, the population distribution is uneven throughout the country, concentrating primarily in valleys and plains


urban population: 21.3% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

MBABANE (capital) 66,000 (2014)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.66 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

19.5 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2006/07 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

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

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 50.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 54.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 51.6 years
male: 52.2 years
female: 51 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

2.69 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

66.1% (2014)

Health Expenditures

9.3% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.15 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital Bed Density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 93.6% of population
rural: 68.9% of population
total: 74.1% of population

urban: 6.4% of population
rural: 31.1% of population
total: 25.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 63.1% of population
rural: 56% of population
total: 57.5% of population

urban: 36.9% of population
rural: 44% of population
total: 42.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

27.2% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

220,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

3,900 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

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

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

14.8% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

5.8% (2014)

Education Expenditures

7.1% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.5%
male: 87.4%
female: 87.5% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2013)