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People and Society






Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009. As president, he oversaw some economic improvement. He died abruptly in April 2012 and was succeeded by his vice president, Joyce BANDA. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.


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People And Society

Noun Malawian(s)
Adjective Malawian

Ethnic groups
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%

Chichewa (official) 57.2%, Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)

Christian 82.7%, Muslim 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (1998 census)

Population World Ranking: 65
16,323,044 (July 2012 est.)
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

Age structure
0-14 years
45.1% (male 3,586,696/female 3,571,298)
15-64 years
52.2% (male 4,140,874/female 4,155,015)
65 years and over
2.7% (male 182,304/female 243,065) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 17.3 years
Male 17.2 years
Female 17.4 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 17
2.758% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 9
40.42 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 21
12.84 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 97
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 20% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
5.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
Blantyre 856,000; LILONGWE (capital) 821,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.01 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.74 male(s)/female
Total population
0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 22
460 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 10
Total 79.02 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 83.06 deaths/1,000 live births
74.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 208
Total population 52.31 years
Male 51.5 years
Female 53.13 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 14
5.35 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 143
4.8% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.019 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
1.1 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 9
11% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 12
920,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 9
51,000 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Very high
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases Malaria and plague
Water contact disease Schistosomiasis
Animal contact disease Rabies (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 53
15.5% (2006)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 96
4.2% of GDP (2003)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 74.8%
Male 81.1%
Female 68.5% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 9 years
Male 9 years
Female 9 years (2007)


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  Malawi (Lilongwe):

  GPS points from Malawi (Lilongwe)

Chitumbwi Southern Region

Mbuzi Central Region

Kasamba Central Region

Katonda Central Region

Mocho Northern Region

Camama Central Region

Kanyawazi Stream Northern Region

Nkhata Bay District Nkhata Bay
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