Lesotho Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Lesotho Country Overview

Where is Lesotho located? The Kingdom of Lesotho (formerly called Basutoland) is located in southern Africa. Although it is not politically part of South Africa, it is in the same time zone on the time zone map, the “South Africa Standard Time” (SAST). Clocks in this world time zone are always 2 hours later than those in Coordinated World Time (UTC+2). Due to its proximity to the equator, Lesotho does not use daylight saving time.

Lesotho National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Lesotho is 1,969,334, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 1,969,334
Population growth rate 0.16%
Birth rate 24.60 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 52.30 years
Men 52.20 years
Women 52.39 years
Age structure
0-14 years 31.84%
15-64 years 62.63%
65 years and above 5.53%
Median age 23.80 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.97
Population density 64.88 residents per km²
Urbanization 17.90%
99.7% Sotho (Basotho)
Christians 80%, indigenous religions 20%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.518
HDI ranking 164th out of 194

People in Lesotho

Almost two million people live in Lesotho. The Basotho make up almost the entire population of Lesotho. Most of the country, namely three quarters, cannot be inhabited at all due to the altitude.

Most people live in the capital, Maseru, although there aren’t many cities in Lesotho. Other larger cities are Teyateyaneng and Mafeteng. Around 50,000 or 20,000 people live here.

A low life expectancy

25 out of 100 people in Lesotho have contracted the HI virus, so the population growth is very low. Many people die even though they have not yet reached the age of 35. Children in particular suffer from this (see also children). Average life expectancy is only 53 years.

Languages in Lesotho

The Basotho language is called Sesotho. Sesotho belongs to the Bantu languages. Bantu peoples moved south from East Africa in the 16th century, bringing their language with them. They adopted the click sounds from the San who lived here, which are now also typical of Sesotho.

English is also spoken a lot. Both languages ​​are used in administration. Incidentally, “Lesotho” means “land of the Sotho-speaking people”.

Religions in Lesotho

The people in Lesotho still live very traditionally. At the top is a king, followed by the chiefs and chieftains. Although there are democratic elections in Lesotho, these people still have great power and influence over the people of the country. Most people, namely 90 out of 100, are Christians, but there are also residents who feel committed to their old beliefs or to the natural religions. They worship their ancestors and make offerings to keep them healthy and happy in life.