Tanzania Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Tanzania Country Overview

Where is Tanzania located? Tanzania is an East African country bordering the Indian Ocean. The state has been independent from Great Britain since 1961. The people there speak Swahili. On the time zone map, Tanzania is in “East Africa Time”, a world time zone in which there is a time difference of +3 hours to coordinated world time. As in most African countries, there is no changeover to daylight saving time in Tanzania due to its proximity to the equator, so the difference of +3 hours to the world clock remains the same throughout the year.

Tanzania National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Tanzania is 58,552,845, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 58,552,845
Population growth rate 2.71%
Birth rate 35.60 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 60.76 years
Men life expectancy 59.48 years
Women life expectancy 62.09 years
Age structure
0-14 years 43.40%
15-64 years 53.56%
65 years and above 3.04%
Median age 17.50 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 61.81 residents per km²
Urbanization 35.40%
a total of 120 ethnic groups: approx. 60% Bantu groups (Haya, Makonde, Njamwesi, Sukuma, Chagga etc.); Maasai, Swahili and others
Mainland – Christians 30%, Muslims 35%, indigenous religions 25%; Zanzibar more than 99% Muslim
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.528
HDI ranking 159th out of 194

People in Tanzania

58 million people live in Tanzania, the Tanzanians. 95 out of 100 people belong to a Bantu people. A total of 130 Bantu peoples are native to Tanzania. The Sukuma are the largest population group in Tanzania.

12 out of 100 people are Sukuma. They live like the Nyamwezi (9 percent) on Lake Victoria. Hehe and Haya are the next largest groups. Swahili live on the coast and Chagga on Kilimanjaro. 3 percent are Maasai.


Most Maasai are shepherds. Originally they were not settled and wandered through the country with their animals. Their wealth is based on the number of their cattle. Meanwhile, however, there are also Maasai who have settled down and live in small villages. But the Maasai men are still on their way to find better grazing grounds for their animals. The Maasai children already have tasks, because they have to look after the cattle’s calves.

Maasai live as nomads and roam the country with their herds of cattle. Cattle are also their main livelihood. Goats and donkeys also accompany the Maasai. You can also recognize them by their red clothing, which is typical of the Maasai. This is why they are particularly noticeable, even if they are not that many in number compared to the rest of the population. Their height – the Maasai are very tall – also contributes to this.

In Tanzania, the Maasai live in the north of the country, in the Serengeti. Most Maasai do not live in Tanzania, but in Kenya. The exact number is not known, it is spoken of half a million to a million people.

The population is growing

The population of Tanzania is growing rapidly every year. Each woman has an average of 5 children. But people’s life expectancy is low. At 62 it is higher than in many other African countries, but it is lower than in Europe.

19 out of 1,000 babies die in childbirth. 49 children die before they are 5 years old. That is quite high and is due to the poverty of the people. Diseases like malaria still cause many deaths. In addition, people in Tanzania are infected with the HI virus. 44 out of 100 people in Tanzania are under 14 years old.

Languages in Tanzania

There are 130 languages ​​in Tanzania. But how should people communicate with one another? There is a language spoken by many people. It is called Swahili (sometimes the terms Kiswahili or Swahili are also found). Teaching in schools is also in Swahili. By the way, “Swahili” means “coastal residents” and the Ki stands for “language”, so Kiswahili means language of the coastal residents.

But there are also some Tanzanians who speak English. English is also taught in schools, so English is also an important language in Tanzania. In Zanzibar we mostly speak Arabic.

Religions in Tanzania

Most of the people who live in Tanzania are Christian or Muslim. It has been estimated that between 30 and 40 out of 100 people belong to these two religions. More recent figures assume 61 percent Christians and 35 percent Muslims. Only on the islands of Zanzibar live almost exclusively Muslims. But followers of the natural religions still live their traditional African beliefs.