Lesotho Demographics

What is the population of Lesotho?

Population 1,969,334
Population - note note: 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
Population Growth Rate 0.34%
Urban Population 27.6%
Population in Major Urban Areas MASERU (capital) 239,000
Nationality Noun Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
Nationality Adjective Basotho
Ethnic Groups Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
Languages Spoken Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Lesotho Health Information

What are the health conditions in Lesotho?

Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 15-49 47%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 15.02
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 76.7%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 18.7%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 93.2%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 12.8%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 23.6%
HIV/Aids Deaths 15,500
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.3
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 47.78
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 55.96
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 51.93
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 620
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 21.2
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 14.6%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 290,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .05
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 70.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 37%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 26.7%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.83
Underweight - percent of children under five years 13.5%

Lesotho Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Lesotho?

Life Expectancy at Birth 52 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 52 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 52 Years
Median Age 23 Years
Median Age - female 23 Years
Median Age - male 23 Years

Lesotho Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Lesotho median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 26
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 15.02
Median Age 23 Years
Median Age - female 23 Years
Median Age - male 23 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -7.89
Population Growth Rate 0.34%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female .91
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .96
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .97
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .99

Lesotho Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Lesotho?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities in Lesotho are limited and there is no reliable ambulance service. Specialist care is available in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 90 miles west of Maseru. U.S. Embassy Maseru maintains a list of physicians and other health care professionals, but the Embassy does not guarantee service or provide recommendations.

Many medicines are unavailable at facilities in Lesotho; travelers should carry with them an adequate supply of necessary medicines and/or prescription drugs, along with copies of their prescriptions. Lesotho has a very high HIV prevalence, currently estimated at 23 percent of the adult population. Tuberculosis is a serious health concern in Lesotho.

Lesotho Education

What is school like in Lesotho?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 13%
Literacy - female 94.5%
Literacy - male 74.5%
Literacy - total population 84.8%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 12 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 11 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 11 Years

Lesotho Literacy

Can people in Lesotho read?

Literacy - female 94.5%
Literacy - male 74.5%
Literacy - total population 84.8%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Lesotho Learning

What is school like in Lesotho?

Classroom

On average primary school starts at 6 years to 12 years, however, because of unknown reasons, some children start at a late age. Classrooms are always crowded, now more than before because education is considered free. Desks are short, books are few, so the teachers normally read to the children and write on the board for notes, tasks, exams and/or assignments. Children provide their own writing books, exam books, writing utensils and stationery. Government schools do not offer computer lessons.

Education Culture

For most families, education and communication in English are encouraged. Some families will ensure that their children are ready for the next day’s classes, encouraging the children to speak more English by conversing in English with them. Government schools don’t have Art, Drama and Music lessons; however, they have choirs and compete with other schools in singing.

Learning

A typical day at school starts with assembly, first and second periods, break, two more periods, lunch time, then younger children go home. The older ones go back to classes till about 2 o’clock. A typical period lasts about 30 minutes, break lasts for about 15 minutes and lunch break for about an hour. Some children bring lunch to school, but the schools provides lunch. A teacher would probably have between 20 and 30 children per class. Sesotho is their primary language at home, except for a few children. Children are encouraged, or pressured to communicate in English in their classrooms.

The main subjects taught at primary level are Maths, English, Sesotho, Science and Geography. About 80% go on to secondary level, for those who do not, it is mainly because they failed or due to financial reasons, as secondary education is not free.


Children get a hiding when they have been naughty. Sometimes they get a hiding in front of the whole school in assembly or get expelled, but this normally happens in cases of pregnancy and alcohol. The Headmaster/Principal is the deciding body of what is to happen, what punishment is to be implemented. The teachers report to the principal.


Every child must wear a uniform, socks, a dress for the females and khaki shorts or long pants for the males, a shirt, jersey, a belt and black shoes. Teachers are normally greeted in class rooms and because they are encouraged to communicate in English, students greet the teachers in English except in Sesotho classes.


A typical lunch meal brought from home is a bread or sandwich and juice. Meals provided by the schools deferrer according to days. Some days the children will eat beans and papa (maize meal), papa and cabbage and porridge.

To School

On a typical day, some children walk quite a distance to and from home because there is no money for transportation, they lost it or they have spent the money on sweets and snacks. Some children get picked up by hired mini-buses or taxis. Depending on how young the child is, the parent takes them to school. Most children walk home. Transportation is provided by business people who saw the business opportunity.

Lesotho Crime

Is Lesotho a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Lesotho has a high crime rate, and foreigners must remain vigilant at all times. Foreigners are frequently targeted and robbed, and have occasionally been car-jacked and killed. A number of U.S. citizens have reported incidents – including sexual assault, armed and unarmed confrontation, and home invasion – occurring in broad daylight. There are no indications that U.S. citizens are targeted due to their nationality.

Crime can occur anywhere in Lesotho, but is most prevalent in urban areas. Crime scenes have included popular restaurants, poorly lit or unlit roads, and locations foreigners are known to frequent. Victims have included tourists, volunteer workers, and employees of non-governmental organizations.

U.S. citizens are advised to avoid walking or driving at night. Extra caution should be exercised while walking through downtown Maseru, even in daylight hours, as there have been numerous recent incidents in the middle of the day. Residences with 24-hour guards are generally less likely to be targeted. Traveling alone or at night is particularly dangerous, due to limited street lighting and undeveloped road conditions. The Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) is responsible for policing duties, but due to limited resources, LMPS response times can vary widely. U.S. citizens should report crime to the police and to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy.

There is a serious problem with theft from baggage at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), a required transit point for air travel to Lesotho. Travelers are encouraged to secure their luggage with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, use an airport plastic wrapping service and avoid placing any items of value in checked luggage. Make an inventory of items in checked baggage to aid in claims processing if theft does occur. The claims processing procedure can be time-consuming.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Lesotho Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Lesotho, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain government buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but are still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Lesotho, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.

Arrest notifications in host country:

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. Embassy as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Lesotho Population Comparison

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