The original inhabitants of Zambia were the Khoisan people. The region was eventually colonized during a Bantu expansion in the 13th century. There are now 72 ethnic groups in Zambia, most of which speak Bantu.
Nearly 90% of Zambians belong to one of 9 ethnolinguistic groups: Nyanja-Chewa, Bemba, Tonga, Tumbuka, Lunda, Luvale, Kaonde, Lozi, and Nkoya. The ethnic composition of Zambia in 2003 was: Bemba (22%), Tonga (11%), Lozi (5.2%), Nsenga (5.1%), Tumbuka (4.3%), Ngoni (3.8%), Chewa (3%), white (1%), and others (45%).
Expatriates, most of which are from South Africa and the United Kingdom, are mostly in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. While there were 70,000 Europeans in the country in 1964, most have left. There is also a small population of Indians and Chinese. It is estimated that 80,000 Chinese live in Zambia, with 13,000 Indians.
There are about 89,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Zambia, most of which came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (47,000), Angola (27,000), Zimbabwe (5,000) and Rwanda (5,000).
The median age in Zambia is only 16.8 years of age, with a total life expectancy of 52.7 years. This ranks Zambia's population as the 6th youngest for median age in the world. In addition, Zambia also ranks at number 8 for its fertility rate of 5.63 children per woman.
In terms of access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation facilities, the Zambia population is seeing a considerable struggle. Approximately 65% of the population has the ability to gain clean drinking water, while only 43.9% have access to improved sanitation. Risk of infectious disease is high here, and HIV/AIDS is quite prevalent as well, currently affecting 1.1 million people in Zambia alone.
Zambia Religion, Economy and Politics
The Zambian constitution written in 1996 declares Zambia as a Christian nation, but also provides for religious freedom within the country- however, all religious groups are required to register with the government. 75% of Zambians are Protestant,20% are Roman Catholic, and the rest of the population largely practices indigenous beliefs.
Zambia is considered a middle-income nation but has been experiencing a lot of economic growth in recent years. Unfortunately, any surpluses have not been distributed to low-income people, making it one of the countries with the highest economic inequality in the world, with 58% of the population below the poverty line. Zambia's biggest industry is in copper production.
Zambia Population History
Zambia was solely inhabited by indigenous people until the arrival of Portuguese explorers in the late 18th century. There was over a century of general instability because of migration and slave-trade happening with the Portuguese and Arabs.
Britain took control of the country in 1889 and in the 1920s, huge copper supplies were discovered in Zambia, causing an influx of Europeans. Zambia finally became an independent nation in 1964. In December of 2000 60,000 refugees from the DR Congo sought refuge in Zambia in less than one week. The overall health of the nation has been steadily decreasing since the 1970s, largely due to AIDS.