Population of Tanzania

Tanzania has the population of about 60 million, according to the world bank estimation of 2022.

The population is under one Nation and under one Language spoken and written by more than 90%  of the population, and this is the national language of Tanzania known as Kiswahili. This language so far is spoken with more than 130 million in Africa and has been one of the East Africa official languages and recognised by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) as one of the official working Languages, in this community of 16 countries.

Furthermore, this language was born on the coast of East Africa and now has been one of the largest and strongest spoken local languages in Africa after English and French. The Population of Tanzania is divided in tribes, of about 127 tribes with their own traditional, cultural and dialects. But all are brought together as one Family , one community in Nation under one Gorvernment with one Language KISWAHILI.

In all this 127 tribes are divided in three larger main tribes:

  1. Bantu, with more than 95% of the population of Tanzania.
  2. Nillotic
  3. Cushite
Population of Tanzania - Cornellius and the tribes
Population of Tanzania - Cornellius and the tribes

Bantu People

Its one of the Largest Tribe in Africa, with more than 400 million spread all over Africa from central Africa Southeast Africa and South Africa. Bantu language is divided in sublanguages of about 600 language in all Africa (BANTU).

In Tanzania the National language Kiswahili has been formed by the mixture of Bantu language and Arabic Language of which more than 70% of the language is Bantu language. Some of the Bantu largest subtribes in Tanzania are Sukuma, Nyamwezi and Chagga.

The two largest ethnic groups in Tanzania are linguistically and culturally closely related. The traditional homelands of the Sukuma and Nyamwezi are in western Tanzania, south of Lake Victoria. The Sukuma number about 3 to 3.5 million people and the Nyamwezi 1 to 1.5 million (1989 estimate). Sukuma actually means «north» and it refers to «people of the north»; however, the Sukuma refer to themselves as Basukuma (plural) and Musukuma (singular). The Nyamwezi refer to themselves as Banyamwezi (plural) and Munyamwezi (singular). Both are Bantu-speaking peoples who in the past were agriculturists and cattle keepers.

Most family farms are subsistence, but also surplus crops for cash. Also, before German rule, the Sukuma and Nyamwezi acted as middle-men in the trade with the Swahili on the coast. In pre-colonial times, there was a strong ruler, a king or mtemi, called Mirambo. He was great military leader and strategist who between 1860-1884 was able to carve out a large empire through conquest and diplomacy among the Sukuma and Nymawezi. In post-colonial Tanzania, Mirambo became an important political symbol because he had been able to deal with Europeans from a position of strength.

The third largest ethnic group is the Chagga who live on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. They are also know as Waschagga, Jagga, and Dschagga and number over 800,000 (1988 estimate). They are also a Bantu people who are primarily cultivators and cattle keepers. They grow Arabica coffee, which is their primary cash crop, and bananas, which is their staple food. Chagga brew beer from banana and eleusine. Today, land shortages have altered their economic structure. Many Chagga are now wage earners in large cities but still grow coffee as a cash crop. In pre-colonial times, the Chagga were governed by a system of chiefs, and these chiefs would often wage war against each other. The German exploited this by helping friendly chiefs and encouraging them to attack those the Germans deemed unfriendly.

Nillotic People

This is only a small population in Tanzania. Its population is in some of the other East african country. Modernly, Nilotic languages are spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Long before there were written records, Nilotic peoples apparently migrated from the Nile River area as far south as the region of modern Tanzania. Some Nilotic groups had intensive contact with Cushitic (Afro-Asiatic) peoples, and with Niger-Congo peoples. This has resulted in mutual cultural and linguistic impact across Nilotic, Cushitic, and Niger-Congo language families.

Some of the Nilotic tribes in Tanzania are Datoga and Masai people and mostly are in the northern circuit of Tanzania.

Cushite People

This is another small population in Tanzania, and majority of them are in the northern part of Tanzania. Burunge and Iraqw people are the tribes in Tanzania from Cushite people.

The Burunge and Iraqw belong to the Southern Cushites in Tanzania; their ancestors are believed to have originated from Southern Ethiopia and migrated into the northeastern region of Tanzania around 1000 BC. After migration into Tanzania, the ancient Burunge culture centered on subsistence farming and cattle grazing.

There are some small tribes which are the Indigenous of Tanzania and they contribute very small number of the population.


Mostly based in southwest Karatu District of Arusha Region. They live around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. There are, as of 2015, between 1,200 and 1,300 Hadza people living in Tanzania, however only around 400 Hadza still survive exclusively based on the traditional means of foraging.

Additionally, the increasing impact of tourism and encroaching pastoralists pose serious threats to the continuation of their traditional way of life.

As descendants of Tanzania’s aboriginal, pre-Bantu expansion hunter-gatherer population, they have probably occupied their current territory for thousands of years, with relatively little modification to their basic way of life until the past hundred years.

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