Malawi Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Malawi Country Overview

Where is Malawi located? The landlocked country of Malawi is located in eastern South Africa. The former English colony gained independence in 1964. The time zone in which Malawi is located is called “Central African Time”(CAT). There is a time difference of 2 hours between CAT and Coordinated Universal Time. This means that clocks in Malawi are always 2 hours later than universal time (UTC+2). This standard difference stays the same throughout the year as Malawi does not use Daylight Saving Time (DST) changes.

Malawi National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Malawi is 21,196,629, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 21,196,629
Population growth rate 3.30%
Birth rate 41.00 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 52.78 years
Men 51.95 years
Women 53.62 years
Age structure
0-14 years 46.17%
15-64 years 51.15%
65 years and above 2.69%
Median age 16.40 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 178.90 residents per km²
Urbanization 16.30%
Bantu peoples: Chewa 32.6%, Lomwe 17.6%, Yao 13.5%, Ngoni 11.5%, Tumbuka 8.8%, Nyanja 5.8%, Sena 3.6%, Tonga 2.1%, Ngonde 1%, other 3.5%
Protestants 55%, Catholics 20%, Muslims 20%, indigenous religions
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.485
HDI ranking 172nd out of 194

People in Malawi

Wouldn’t you like to travel to a country known as the “warm heart of Africa “? The “warm heart of Africa” ​​is so called because the people there should be so friendly.

About 16 million people live in Malawi. As in many other African countries, the population is very young. In Germany there are more old people than young people and people are getting older. In Africa it is often the other way around. More young people live there than old people. Unfortunately for so many people there is often no work and not enough to eat. 84 out of 100 people in Malawi live in rural areas. So only 16 out of 100 residents live in a city.

Flaming water

Most of the people belong to the Bantu peoples. 49 out of 100 people belong to the Maravi, who are composed of several subgroups. The Chewa is the largest group among them. 16 out of 100 residents belong to the Lomwe and 13 out of 100 to the Yao. Ngoni, Sena and Ngondo are minorities.

By the way, the name Malawi means “flaming water” when translated. Since the light breaks again and again on Lake Malawi and there are great light reflections, the term probably goes back to this.

Languages in Malawi

The official language in Malawi is English. Chichewa is the national language. Chichewa is the language of the Chewa people. Half of the population speaks it as their mother tongue. But it also serves to communicate with different ethnic groups. Chichewa is one of the Bantu languages. Other Bantu languages ​​are spoken regionally. These are, for example, Lomwe (the language of the Lomwe) or Chiyao (the language of the Yao).

Religions in Malawi

Many people in Malawi are Christians. The numbers fluctuate, but it’s definitely the majority – around 70 out of 100 people. 20 out of 100 are Muslims. The religions live together peacefully and there are no major conflicts. The Malawians often still live their traditional beliefs. They believe in ghosts and ancient rituals. The cult of the dead, the worship of the dead, also plays a major role.