Zim’s population projected to rise 39% to 21m by 2042: Zimstat


HARARE – Zimbabwe’s population is projected to reach 21.2 million by 2042, indicating a 39.47% increase from the 2022 population of 15.2 million from the 2022 Population and Housing Census.

Population projections are vital for informed decision-making across various sectors.
Policymakers, urban planners, and businesses rely on these estimates to prepare for the
future. Projections guide healthcare resource allocation, educational planning, housing
development, and workforce strategies.

According to Zimstat, the principal projection, representing the central estimate, projects
the population to grow to 21.2 million by 2042. “This gives a higher average annual population growth rate of 1.8%. This is due to steadily rising life expectancy at birth, expanding educational levels, urbanisation, and improved public health systems.

However, using the high projection assumes higher fertility, more mortality improvement, and lower net emigration than the principal projection, and the low variant is the opposite.

The high projection suggests a potentially larger population of 22.8 million by 2042, while the low projection indicates a smaller population of 19.7 million by the same year. These alternative scenarios highlight the range of possibilities, underlining the uncertainties inherent in population projections.

The report shows that Zimbabwe’s population has doubled in four decades, from
7.5 million in 1982 to 15.2 million in 2022; fertility has steadily been declining since 1982; and mortality in childhood has been fairly stable for most of the period.

Under-five mortality has been declining in Zimbabwe during the past four decades while life expectancy at birth has steadily been increasing since 1982 until about 1987 when it reached a peak of 61 years after which it gradually declined to a low of 43 years in 2002 before steadily increasing after that to a peak of 64 years in 2022.

The benchmark data for the projections is the 2022 Population and Housing Census. Based on the levels and trends of the components of population change, the projections assume that Zimbabwe’s total fertility rate will decrease from 3.7 children per woman in 2022 to 3.2 in 2042, partly a result of an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate and girl-child school attendance.

Life expectancy at birth will increase from 61.3 to 69.1 for males and from 68.2 to 78.2 for females due to several coordinated socio-economic and health care interventions, involving scaling up of early infant diagnosis; net international migration was assumed a constant -70,000 as medium variant throughout the projection period.


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