25,834,000 (2013); 32 per cent of people live in urban areas and seven per cent in urban agglomerations of more than one million people; growth 2.8 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 39 per 1,000 people (48 in 1970); life expectancy 50 years (39 in 1970 and 43 in 1990).
Ethnic groups include Makua-Lomwe in the north, Makonde in the far north, Thonga in the southern lowlands, Chopi and Thonga in the Inhambane coastal province, and Shona mainly in the central Manica and Sofala provinces.
Portuguese (official) and three main African groups: Tsonga, Sena–Nyanja, Makua–Lomwe. English is widely spoken.
Christians 56 per cent (mainly Roman Catholics), Muslims 18 per cent (mainly in the north), most of the rest holding traditional beliefs, which incorporate some Christian practices.
Public spending on health was three per cent of GDP in 2012. The national health service lost its monopoly of health care in 1992. Some 49 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 21 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2012). Infant mortality was 62 per 1,000 live births in 2013 (180 in 1960). Malaria and AIDS are serious problems and there are regular outbreaks of cholera. In 2013, 11 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.
There are seven years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 31 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2011). The school year starts in January.
Tertiary education is provided at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (in Maputo); Universidade Pedagógica (Maputo, with branches in Beira and Nampula); Instituto Superior de Relações Internacionais (Maputo); and Universidade Lúrio (established in 2006, with campuses at Nampula, Pemba and Niassa, in the three most northerly provinces). Private tertiary institutions include the Higher Polytechnic and University Institute (1996, Maputo, with a branch in Quelimane); Catholic University (1997, Beira); and Higher Institute for Science and Technology of Mozambique (1997, Maputo). The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 1.60:1 (2011). Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 72 per cent (2010).
The daily newspapers are Notícias (largest and oldest and partly government-owned) and Diário de Moçambique (independent), both in Portuguese. O País and Savana are published weekly in Portuguese.
Television is a very popular medium in urban areas, radio in the rural areas. Televisão de Moçambique, the public TV service, is the sole national network, and Radio Moçambique is the public radio provider operating national, provincial and local services in Portuguese, English and indigenous languages. There are several private TV channels and radio stations.
Some nine per cent of households have TV sets (2006). There are 14 personal computers per 1,000 people (2005).
Country code 258; internet domain ‘.mz’. Main towns are connected by satellite phones. Mobile phone coverage is generally good in urban areas. There are internet cafés in Maputo. Postal services are available in main centres.
For every 1,000 people there are three landlines, 480 mobile phone subscriptions and 54 internet users (2013).
New Year’s Day, Heroes’ Day (3 February), Women’s Day (7 April), Workers’ Day (1 May), Independence Day (25 June), Lusaka Peace Agreement Day (7 September), Armed Forces Day (25 September), Peace and National Reconciliation Day (4 October), Maputo City Day (Maputo only, 10 November), Family/Christmas Day (25 December).