Demographics of Tanzania

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Tanzania, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Density varies from 1 person per square kilometre (3 per sq. mi.) in arid regions to 51 per square kilometre (133 per sq. mi.) in the mainland's well-watered highlands to 134 per square kilometre (347 per sq. mi.) on Zanzibar. More than 80% of the population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the capital and largest city; Dodoma, located in the centre of Tanzania, has been designated the new capital, although action to move the capital has stalled.

The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chagga have more than 1 million members. The majority of Tanzanians, including such communities as the Hehe, Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are Bantu speaking groups. Groups of Nilotic or related origin include the nomadic Maasai and the Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighbouring Kenya. Two small groups speak languages of the Khoisan family peculiar to the Bushman and Khoikhoi peoples. Cushitic-speaking peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands, reside in a few areas of Tanzania. Other Bantu speaking were refugees from Mozambique.

Although much of Zanzibar's African population came from the mainland, one group known as Shirazis traces its origins to the island's early Persian settlers. Non-Africans residing on the mainland and Zanzibar account for 1% of the total population. The Asian community, including Hindus, Sikhs, Shi'a and Sunni Muslims, Parsis and Goans, has declined by 50% in the past decade to 50,000 on the mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans (90% of which are Anglo-African) reside in Tanzania.

Generally, each ethnic group has its own language, but the national language is Swahili, a Bantu language with a strong Arabic influence, and more recently a large number of English borrowings. The other official language is English. Other spoken languages are Indian languages and Portuguese (both spoken by Mozambican blacks and Goans).

Some 45,000 Tanzanian-born people are currently living abroad, the overwhealming majority of these reside in the United Kingdom (over 32,000), whilst thousands also live in Canada, the United States and various European nations.[1]

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