Malawi Population and Language

Malawi is one of the least urbanized countries in Africa. More than eight out of ten Malawians live in rural areas. At the same time, the country is very densely populated, with a concentration of residents in the south.

Malawi Population Forecast

High birth rates cause the population to grow rapidly. Nearly half of the residents are under 14 years of age. There are a variety of ethnic groups in the country, most of which belong to the Bantu group. In the south, among others, yao and lomwe live. In the north, tumbuka dominates, while central Malawi is mainly inhabited by the country’s largest population group, chewa. Malawi’s former dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1964-1994; see History) was chewa and deliberately favored his own group at the expense of tumbuka, which previously held a strong position in the state administration. This created contradictions between the two peoples.

  • COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Malawi, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.

Most of the ethnic groups in central and southern Malawi have a matrilinear tradition, which means that kinship and heritage follow the mother’s family. Young newlyweds usually move to the woman’s village. However, the head of the family is usually the oldest uncle.

Chewa and English are official languages. Everyone can learn both languages ​​at school. Chewa is spoken by the vast majority of people in rural areas, while English is used in the state administration. In addition, there are about ten regional bantu languages.



clear majority of chewa 1

Number of residents

18 622 104 (2017)

Number of residents per square kilometer

198 (2017)

Percentage of residents in the cities

16.7 percent (2017)

Nativity / birth

36.7 per 1000 residents (2016)

Mortality / mortality

7.3 per 1000 residents (2016)


2.9 percent (2017)

fertility rate

4.6 number of births per woman (2016)

Percentage of women

50.5 percent (2017)

Life expectancy

63 years (2016)

Life expectancy for women

66 years (2016)

Life expectancy for men

61 years (2016)


chewa and english are official languages 2

  1. minorities of yao, tumbuka, lomwe, sena, etc.
    2. a dozen regional bantu languages



Deaths should be investigated

The government decides to set up an investigation to investigate the fatalities in July.


The President’s brother becomes Foreign Minister

A new government takes office, containing 28 ministers. The president retains three smaller portfolios for himself, appoints his brother Arthur Peter Mutharika to the Foreign Minister and gives his wife Callista responsibility for maternal and child health care.


The whole government gets fired

The President dismisses the entire government and so far takes over all 42 ministerial posts himself. He does not explain the measure, but the opposition has previously demanded that the oversized government be reduced.

The value of the currency is written down

Following criticism from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) against the overvaluation of the Malawian currency, the central bank decides to devalue the kwachan by ten percent. The government has opposed a devaluation with the justification that it would lead to inflation and hurt the poor.


At least 19 dead in protest against austerity

Britain decides to cut aid to Malawi and criticizes the regime for mismanagement of the economy as well as a lack of respect for human rights. Other donor countries have also reduced their contributions, and the government is implementing price increases, budgetary tightening and tax increases. According to citizen groups, the country suffers acute shortages of fuel, electricity and foreign currency. President Bingu wa Mutharika is accused of causing Malawi’s worst economic crisis and of neglecting human rights. His departure is demanded by thousands of people who defy the demonstration ban in several cities. At least 19 people are shot to death by police, and over 275 people are arrested, most for looting.


Quarrel with the UK

A British diplomat’s report that President Mutharika is authoritarian and does not tolerate criticism is leaking, leading to the expulsion of the British envoy in Malawi. In response, Malawi’s envoy in London is forced to leave the UK, which is Malawi’s most dependent donor country.


Trial against ex-President Muluzi

After several years of delays due to appeals, ex-President Muluzi is facing trial, accused of embezzling approximately $ 11 million in aid. Muluzi denies the allegations and claims that they are part of his political conflict with the successor, President Mutharika.


The outside world is criticizing new media law

Malawian and international media are protesting against a new law that allows the government to shut down media that is considered to be counter to the public interest.

Malawi Population and Language

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