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  • Population: 10,548,250 (Ranked 70th in the world by the US Census Bureau).
  • Population density: 227 people per square mile.
  • Children 0-14: 44.4%—4,686,230.
  • Teenage 10-19: 26.3%—2,769,215.
  • Youth between 15-24: 22.4%—2,366,216.
  • Seniors Over 70: 1.6%—166,635.
  • Male to female ratio: 97.6 males per 100 females.
  • Birth rate: 38.49 births per 1000 people.
  • Estimated % of population with AIDS: 15%.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 36.34 for males and 35.7 for females.
  • Infant mortality rate: 130.52 per 1000 live births.




Beginning age (not available)

Duration (not available)


Beginning age, 6

Duration 8 years


Beginning age, 14

Duration 4 years.


Illiteracy is an issue in Malawian education. It is estimated that only 56.4% of the population over 15 can read. The percentage of women over 15 who can read is thought to be around 41.8%.


The following are the major ethnic groups in Malawi:

  • Chewa.
  • Nyanja.
  • Tumbuko.
  • Yao.
  • Lomwe.
  • Sena.
  • Tonga.
  • Ngoni.
  • Ngonde.
  • Asian.
  • European.



There are 10.5 million people in Malawi (5.2 million males, 5.3 million females, for a sex ratio of 97.6 men for every 100 women). 45% Of the population is under 15. The birth rate is 38.49 births per 1,000 people, and the infant mortality rate is 130.52 deaths per 1,000 live births. The death rate is 22.44 deaths per 1,000 people, so the overall population growth rate is 1.61%. Overall life expectancy is a low 37.6 years (37.2 for men, 37.98 for women). This expectancy does take into consideration the growth of AIDS and deaths from AIDS, and would be higher without the threat of AIDS.

Universal suffrage is guaranteed by Malawi’s constitution to anyone over 18, except those in the military. Elections are generally considered fair. The Malawi constitution gives citizens fairly broad freedoms, but some feel it has given the office of president too much authority. Freedom of expression and assembly are guaranteed, but the military and police often use force to prevent strikes. Women and children are not equal, legally, with men, and women still face discrimination in education, employment and business.

Police brutality is thought to be common, and prison conditions are quite harsh. Prisons are also overcrowded, and this problem is worsening as the police arrest more people on politically motivated issues. Freedom of the press has been limited, but is improving.


ISSUESAIDS is a major issue in Malawi, as in many other Sub-Saharan African nations. Estimates place the number of people infected with HIV at 800,000. This is 7.6% of the total population, and, according to some estimates, almost 16% of the adult population. The number of children (those under 15) with AIDS is 40,000, or about 5% of the child population.

Equality for women is also a big issue. Women are still facing discrimination in education, employment, and business, although they are able to join the military. Domestic violence is thought to be high, but unreported.

Police brutality is also an issue, as is presidential authority. Some external groups fear that both the president and police have been given too much power and are abusing it at the expense of societal freedom. Related to this is the issue of prison condition and overcrowding.


Christianity (75%) and Islam (20%) are the major religions in Malawi, although so do still practice indigenous religions. Within Christianity, 55% is thought to be Protestant, and 20% Catholic.


UNESCO Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

Freedom House.

Jonathan Ketcham cCYS