Population of Zambia 2017


Current population of Zambia is 15,972,000 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: Zambian(s)
adjective: Zambian

Ethnic Groups

Bemba 21%, Tonga 13.6%, Chewa 7.4%, Lozi 5.7%, Nsenga 5.3%, Tumbuka 4.4%, Ngoni 4%, Lala 3.1%, Kaonde 2.9%, Namwanga 2.8%, Lunda (north Western) 2.6%, Mambwe 2.5%, Luvale 2.2%, Lamba 2.1%, Ushi 1.9%, Lenje 1.6%, Bisa 1.6%, Mbunda 1.2%, other 13.8%, unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)


Bembe 33.4%, Nyanja 14.7%, Tonga 11.4%, Lozi 5.5%, Chewa 4.5%, Nsenga 2.9%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda (North Western) 1.9%, Kaonde 1.8%, Lala 1.8%, Lamba 1.8%, English (official) 1.7%, Luvale 1.5%, Mambwe 1.3%, Namwanga 1.2%, Lenje 1.1%, Bisa 1%, other 9.7%, unspecified 0.2%

note: Zambia is said to have over 70 languages, although many of these may be considered dialects; all of Zambia’s major languages are members of the Bantu family (2010 est.)


Protestant 75.3%, Roman Catholic 20.2%, other 2.7% (includes Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, and Baha’i), none 1.8% (2010 est.)

Demographic Profile

Zambia’s poor, youthful population consists primarily of Bantu-speaking people representing nearly 70 different ethnicities. Zambia’s high fertility rate continues to drive rapid population growth, averaging almost 3 percent annually between 2000 and 2010. The country’s total fertility rate has fallen by less than 1.5 children per woman during the last 30 years and still averages among the world’s highest, almost 6 children per woman, largely because of the country’s lack of access to family planning services, education for girls, and employment for women. Zambia also exhibits wide fertility disparities based on rural or urban location, education, and income. Poor, uneducated women from rural areas are more likely to marry young, to give birth early, and to have more children, viewing children as a sign of prestige and recognizing that not all of their children will live to adulthood. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Zambia and contributes to its low life expectancy.

Zambian emigration is low compared to many other African countries and is comprised predominantly of the well-educated. The small amount of brain drain, however, has a major impact in Zambia because of its limited human capital and lack of educational infrastructure for developing skilled professionals in key fields. For example, Zambia has few schools for training doctors, nurses, and other health care workers. Its spending on education is low compared to other sub-Saharan countries.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 46.03% (male 3,693,255/female 3,657,890)
15-24 years: 20% (male 1,595,628/female 1,598,065)
25-54 years: 28.72% (male 2,310,961/female 2,276,018)
55-64 years: 2.93% (male 217,954/female 250,134)
65 years and over: 2.33% (male 162,605/female 209,490) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 91.9
youth dependency ratio: 87.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.8
potential support ratio: 20.8 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 16.7 years
male: 16.6 years
female: 16.9 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

2.9% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

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

Death Rate

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

Net Migration Rate

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

Population Distribution

one of the highest levels of urbanization in Africa; high density in the central area, particularly around the cities of Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, and Mufulira


urban population: 41.8% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 4.35% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

LUSAKA (capital) 2.179 million (2015)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

19.2 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013/14 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

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

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 62.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 68.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 57.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 52.5 years
male: 50.8 years
female: 54.1 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

5.63 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

49% (2013/14)

Health Expenditures

5% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital Bed Density

2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 85.6% of population
rural: 51.3% of population
total: 65.4% of population

urban: 14.4% of population
rural: 48.7% of population
total: 34.6% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 55.6% of population
rural: 35.7% of population
total: 43.9% of population

urban: 44.4% of population
rural: 64.3% of population
total: 56.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

12.4% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

1.2 million (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

21,000 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

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

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

7.2% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

14.8% (2014)

Education Expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2008)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 63.4%
male: 70.9%
female: 56% (2015 est.)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 1,000,850
percentage: 41%

note: data represent children ages 7-14 (2005 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 15.2%
male: 14.6%
female: 15.8% (2012 est.)