Mozambique's major ethnic groups encompass numerous sub-groups with diverse languages, dialects, cultures, and histories. Many are linked to similar ethnic groups living in inland countries.
The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated 4 million Makua are the dominant group in the northern part of the country--the Sena and Ndau are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Tsonga and Shangaan dominate in southern Mozambique.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonizers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on smallscale agriculture. Mozambique's most highly developed art forms have been wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.
During the colonial era, Christian missionaries were active in Mozambique, and many foreign clergy remain in the country. According to the national census, about 20%-30% of the population is Christian, 15%-20% is Muslim, and the remainder adheres to traditional beliefs.
Under the colonial regime, educational opportunities for black Mozambicans were limited, and 93% of that population was illiterate. In fact, most of today's political leaders were educated in missionary schools. After independence, the government placed a high priority on expanding education, which reduced the illiteracy rate to about two-thirds as primary school enrollment increased. Unfortunately, in recent years school construction and teacher training enrollments have not kept up with population increases. With post-war enrollments reaching all-time highs, the quality of education has suffered.
17,479,266 (July, 2003 est.), 19,104,696 (July 2000 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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected; the 1997 Mozambican census reported a population of 16,099,246
0-14 years: 42.1% (male 3,634,173; female 3,725,396) (2003 est.), 43% (male 4,079,240; female 4,122,578) (2000 est.)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 4,712,891; female 4,945,123) (2003 est.), 54% (male 5,123,178; female 5,262,618) (2000 est.)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 189,778; female 271,905) (2003 est.), 3% (male 215,412; female 301,670) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.82% (2003 est.), 1.47% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 38.2 births/1,000 population (2003 est.), 37.99 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 30.04 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.), 23.29 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000, 2003 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 199 deaths/1,000 live births , 139.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
female: 180.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 216.85 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 31.3 years (2003 est.), 37.52 years (2000 est.)
male: 30.98 (2003 est.), 38.34 years (2000 est.)
female: 31.63 (2003 est.), 36.68 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.87 children born/woman (2003 est.), 4.93 children born/woman (2000 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.1 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 60,000 (2001 est.)
Ethnic groups: indigenous tribal groups 99.66% (Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%
Religions: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
Languages: Portuguese language (official), indigenous dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47.8% (2003 est.), 40.1% (1995 est.)
male: 63.5% (2003 est.), 57.7% (1995 est.)
female: 32.7% (2003 est.), 23.3% (1995 est.)
- See also : Mozambique