Lesotho has a population of approximately 2,067,000. The population distribution of Lesotho is 25% urban and 75% rural. However, it is estimated that annual increase of urban population is 3.5%.Population density is lower in the highlands than in the western lowlands. Although the majority of the population—60.2%—is between 15 and 64 years of age, Lesotho has a substantial youth population numbering around 34.8%.
Lesotho's ethno-linguistic structure consists almost entirely of the Basotho, a Bantu-speaking people: an estimated 99.7% of the people identify as Basotho. Basotho subgroups include the Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (the Tlou), Baphuthi (the Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (the Tau), Batšoeneng (the Tšoene), Matebele etc.
The main language, Sesotho (or Sotho), is also the first official and administrative language, and it is what Basotho speak on an ordinary basis. English is the other official and administrative language.
The population of Lesotho is estimated to be around 90% Christian. Protestants represent 45% of the population (Evangelicals 26%, Anglican and other Protestant groups an additional 19%). Roman Catholics also represent 45% of the population, pastorally served by the province of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Maseru and his three suffragans (the bishops of Leribe, Mohale's Hoek and Qacha's Nek), who also form the national episcopal conference.
Members of other religions (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Bahá'í) and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10% of the population.
Education and literacy
According to recent estimates, 85% of those older than 14 are literate. As such, Lesotho holds one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, in part because Lesotho invests over 12% of its GDP in education. Unlike in most other countries, in Lesotho female literacy (94.5%) exceeds male literacy. According to a study by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality in 2000, 37% of grade 6 pupils in Lesotho (average age 14 years) are at or above reading level 4, "Reading for Meaning." A pupil at this level of literacy can read ahead or backwards through various parts of text to link and interpret information. Although education is not compulsory, the Government of Lesotho is incrementally implementing a program for free primary education.
Despite their literacy, Lesotho's residents struggle for access to vital services, such as healthcare, travel and educational resources, as, according to the International Telecommunication Union, only 3.4% of the population use the Internet. A service from Econet Telecom Lesotho expanded the country's access to email through entry-level, low-end mobile phones and, consequently, improved access to educational information. The African Library Project works to establish school and village libraries in partnership with US Peace Corps Lesotho and the Butha Buthe District of Education.