Eswatini People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


1,113,276 (July 2021 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected


noun: liSwati (singular), emaSwati (plural); note - former term, Swazi(s), still used among English speakers

adjective: Swati; note - former term, Swazi, still used among English speakers

Ethnic groups

predominantly Swazi; smaller populations of other African ethnic groups, including the Zulu, as well as people of European ancestry


English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)


Christian 90% (Zionist - a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship - 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, other 30% - includes Anglican, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness), Muslim 2%, other 8% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, indigenous, Jewish) (2015 est.)

Demographic profile

Eswatini, a small, predominantly rural, landlocked country surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, suffers from severe poverty and the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. A weak and deteriorating economy, high unemployment, rapid population growth, and an uneven distribution of resources all combine to worsen already persistent poverty and food insecurity, especially in rural areas. Erratic weather (frequent droughts and intermittent heavy rains and flooding), overuse of small plots, the overgrazing of cattle, and outdated agricultural practices reduce crop yields and further degrade the environment, exacerbating Eswatini's poverty and subsistence problems. Eswatini's extremely high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate – more than 28% of adults have the disease – compounds these issues. Agricultural production has declined due to HIV/AIDS, as the illness causes households to lose manpower and to sell livestock and other assets to pay for medicine and funerals.

Swazis, mainly men from the country’s rural south, have been migrating to South Africa to work in coal, and later gold, mines since the late 19th century. Although the number of miners abroad has never been high in absolute terms because of Eswatini's small population, the outflow has had important social and economic repercussions. The peak of mining employment in South Africa occurred during the 1980s. Cross-border movement has accelerated since the 1990s, as increasing unemployment has pushed more Swazis to look for work in South Africa (creating a "brain drain" in the health and educational sectors); southern Swazi men have continued to pursue mining, although the industry has downsized. Women now make up an increasing share of migrants and dominate cross-border trading in handicrafts, using the proceeds to purchase goods back in Eswatini. Much of today’s migration, however, is not work-related but focuses on visits to family and friends, tourism, and shopping.

Age structure

0-14 years: 33.63% (male 185,640/female 185,808)

15-24 years: 18.71% (male 98,029/female 108,654)

25-54 years: 39.46% (male 202,536/female 233,275)

55-64 years: 4.36% (male 20,529/female 27,672)

65 years and over: 3.83% (male 15,833/female 26,503) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 70.8

youth dependency ratio: 64

elderly dependency ratio: 6.9

potential support ratio: 14.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 23.7 years

male: 22.5 years

female: 24.7 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.77% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

23.87 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Net migration rate

-6.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

because of its mountainous terrain, the population distribution is uneven throughout the country, concentrating primarily in valleys and plains as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 24.4% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 2.42% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

68,000 MBABANE (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.74 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female

total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

437 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 41.2 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 45.57 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 36.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 59.13 years

male: 57.05 years

female: 61.28 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.48 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

66.1% (2014)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 96.8% of population

rural: 72.3% of population

total: 78.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.2% of population

rural: 27.7% of population

total: 21.7% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

6.5% (2018)

Physicians density

0.33 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 93.5% of population

rural: 82.4% of population

total: 85% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.5% of population

rural: 17.6% of population

total: 15% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

26.8% (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

200,000 (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

2,400 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

16.5% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

5.8% (2014)

Education expenditures

7.1% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 88.4%

male: 88.3%

female: 88.5% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 12 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 47.1%

male: 44.2%

female: 50% (2016)

NOTE: The information regarding Eswatini on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Eswatini 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Eswatini 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.