Botswana People - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


2,417,596 (2023 est.)


noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)

adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)

Ethnic groups

Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and people of European ancestry 7%


Setswana 77.3%, Sekalanga 7.4%, Shekgalagadi 3.4%, English (official) 2.8%, Zezuru/Shona 2%, Sesarwa 1.7%, Sembukushu 1.6%, Ndebele 1%, other 2.8% (2011 est.)


Christian 79.1%, Badimo 4.1%, other 1.4% (includes Baha'i, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian), none 15.2%, unspecified 0.3% (2011 est.)

Demographic profile

Botswana has experienced one of the most rapid declines in fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total fertility rate fell from more than 5 children per woman in the mid 1980s to approximately 2.4 in 2013, and remains at that level in 2022. The fertility reduction has been attributed to a host of factors, including higher educational attainment among women, greater participation of women in the workforce, increased contraceptive use, later first births, and a strong national family planning program. Botswana was making significant progress in several health indicators, including life expectancy and infant and child mortality rates, until being devastated by the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 1990s.

In 2021,  Botswana had one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world at close to 20%, however comprehensive and effective treatment programs have reduced HIV/AIDS-related deaths. The combination of declining fertility and increasing mortality rates because of HIV/AIDS is slowing the population aging process, with a narrowing of the youngest age groups and little expansion of the oldest age groups. Nevertheless, having the bulk of its population (about 60% as of 2022) of working age will only yield economic benefits if the labor force is healthy, educated, and productively employed.

Batswana have been working as contract miners in South Africa since the 19th century. Although Botswana’s economy improved shortly after independence in 1966 with the discovery of diamonds and other minerals, its lingering high poverty rate and lack of job opportunities continued to push workers to seek mining work in southern African countries. In the early 1970s, about a third of Botswana’s male labor force worked in South Africa (lesser numbers went to Namibia and Zimbabwe). Not until the 1980s and 1990s, when South African mining companies had reduced their recruitment of foreign workers and Botswana’s economic prospects had improved, were Batswana increasingly able to find job opportunities at home.

Most Batswana prefer life in their home country and choose cross-border migration on a temporary basis only for work, shopping, visiting family, or tourism. Since the 1970s, Botswana has pursued an open migration policy enabling it to recruit thousands of foreign workers to fill skilled labor shortages. In the late 1990s, Botswana’s prosperity and political stability attracted not only skilled workers but small numbers of refugees from neighboring Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Age structure

0-14 years: 29.17% (male 355,951/female 349,283)

15-64 years: 64.88% (male 745,327/female 823,267)

65 years and over: 5.95% (2023 est.) (male 57,876/female 85,892)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.5

youth dependency ratio: 51.8

elderly dependency ratio: 5.7

potential support ratio: 13.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 25.7 years

male: 24.5 years

female: 26.7 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.37% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

19.95 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Death rate

8.98 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Net migration rate

2.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

the population is primarily concentrated in the east with a focus in and around the captial of Gaborone, and the far central-eastern city of Francistown; population density remains low in other areas in the country, especially in the Kalahari to the west as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 72.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.47% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

269,000 GABORONE (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female

total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

186 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 24.41 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 26.72 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 22.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 66.04 years

male: 63.98 years

female: 68.16 years (2023 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.37 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

1.17 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

67.4% (2017)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.1% of population

rural: 96.9% of population

total: 99.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 3.1% of population

total: 0.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.8 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 94.9% of population

rural: 63% of population

total: 85.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.1% of population

rural: 37% of population

total: 14.4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria

note: on 22 March 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Botswana is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

18.9% (2016)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 5.98 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.93 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.46 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.96 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.64 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 19.4% (2020 est.)

male: 30.4% (2020 est.)

female: 8.3% (2020 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight


Currently married women (ages 15-49)

45% (2023 est.)

Education expenditures

8.7% of GDP (2020 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 88.5%

male: 88%

female: 88.9% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 12 years (2021)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 41.2%

male: 39.5%

female: 43.3% (2021 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Botswana on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Botswana 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Botswana 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.