Mozambique Social Condition Facts

Social conditions

Still, over half of Mozambicans live in poverty. The differences between the city and the countryside are great. The poorest Mozambicans live in the country, while almost all investments are concentrated in the capital Maputo.

Mozambique was ranked 178th out of 187 on the UN Development Agency’s UNDP index of global development in 2014.

  • Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Mozambique, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.

During the first decade of the 2000s, great progress was made in the health field. The mortality rate for children under five years decreased sharply, as did infant mortality. But the life expectancy is even lower than the average for the rest of Africa at 56 and the maternal mortality rate is high.

mozambique population

The government was late in tackling the AIDS epidemic, and it was not until 2000 that a national plan to combat the disease was adopted. More than a tenth of the population aged 15 to 49 years were HIV infected at the beginning of the 2010s and approximately 670,000 children under 17 were orphans due to AIDS.

The family

The traditional family encompasses several generations living under the same roof. In many areas, however, families have been divided and children have become orphans because of the civil war (c. 1980-1994).

Among the people groups north of the Zambezi River, property is inherited on the mother’s side and a person defines her ancestry based on the mother’s origin. In marriage, the man becomes part of the woman’s family. South of the Zambezi River, the father’s origin is counted and property is inherited on the father’s side.

Social groups

In colonial times, the Portuguese constituted an upper class, followed by people of mixed African and Portuguese descent. At the bottom of the social scale stood the Africans, who made up the vast majority of the population. Today, most Portuguese have left the country and with the exception of a small ruling elite, almost everyone in the country is poor.

The richest elite live in the cities, the poorest live in the villages. The difference between the more affluent, developed and influential southern part of the country and the poorer north is clear. Therefore, there is tension between people from different countries.

In workplaces, people from the south often hold together to the north. In the south, the Frelimo government party is strong, while the opposition within Renamo is strong in the north. There is a lot of suspicion between these two political groups. Especially in the countryside, one has to be careful about partying for one or the other side.

The role of the woman

Women are subordinate to men in society, both legally and socially. Domestic violence is common but rarely leads to prosecution. In politics, however, women are fairly well represented, mainly as a result of Frelimo’s quotation on the electoral lists. After the 2009 elections, almost 40 percent of women were in parliament. In 2004, the country got its first female prime minister.

Prostitution is widespread even though it is illegal. There is a trafficking in women, mainly with South Africa.

Polygamy has been a tradition and was quite common until the end of the 20th century. In 1981, a law was passed that stipulated that both spouses in a marriage share ownership of property and that they decide together where to live. The law also states that fathers also have financial responsibility for the children.

But despite measures for gender equality in recent years, women are a tradition for all household chores. In the cities, their responsibilities are usually limited to the home, while the women in the countryside also have a responsibility for agricultural work, especially when the men are rested as guest workers. Women are also more active in the informal sector of the economy, where incomes are low.

Children’s right

Young children are almost never separated from their mothers – except when they die, which is common. The mothers usually carry the children in pieces of cloth on their backs, and they participate in the work in the fields. The children are given a lot of tenderness, but are expected to obey the adults and often start working at an early age.

It is estimated that half a million children became orphans or divorced from their parents during the civil war. Many of them fled to Maputo and other cities, where they depended on theft and sales. Maputo has thousands of street children. Many of them are abused by police or subjected to sexual violence. Child prostitution occurs and there are reports of trafficking in children for prostitution in South Africa and Swaziland.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of children have lost their parents to AIDS, and more and more children are being forced to take responsibility for the household. Orphans and especially motherless children are vulnerable. They often drop out of school, become malnourished, end up in child marriage, prostitution, trafficking or child labor, even though this is prohibited by law.

The right of LGBTQ people

LGBTQ people have no statutory rights. Instead, the law is often interpreted as homosexuality is forbidden. Surveys have shown that the vast majority have gay friends, and in 2006 the first public meeting on gay rights was held.


Infant Mortality: 54 per 1000 births (2018)

Percentage of HIV infected: 12.6 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young women

7.2 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 3.0 percent (2018)

Proportion of population with access to clean water: 47.3 percent (2015)

Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 29.4 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 5.4 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on health care per person: $ 19 (2016)

Proportion of women in parliament: 40 percent (2018)



The government takes refugees home

The government is launching a program to return Mozambicans who have been guest workers in South Africa to their home country. The refugees leave South Africa after being subjected to xenophobic violence there.


3 dead in rattlesnakes

New tariff increases for public transport lead to rattles in Maputo. Three people are killed and over 100 injured. Most price increases are then withdrawn.