The population of Malawi in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 12,105,000, which placed it as number 69 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 46% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 2.01%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 15,165,000. The population density in 2002 was 92 per sq km (239 per sq mi), one of the highest in Africa. The Southern Region has 50% of the population, the Central Region 40%, and the Northern Region 11%.
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 25% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. The capital city, Lilongwe, had a population of 765,000 in that year. Other cities include Blantyre (331,588), Mzuzu (44,238), and Zomba (42,878). According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 7.3%.
The prevalence of AIDS/HIV has had a significant impact on the population of Malawi. The United Nations estimated that 16.1% of adults between the ages of 15–49 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.