Ugandans mostly live in the countryside. Population density is high but varies between different parts of the country depending on how fertile the soil is. The majority of the residents live along the northern shore of Lake Victoria, mainly between the towns of Kampala and Jinja. The population is growing rapidly – with over three percent a year and almost half of Ugandans are under 14.
There are about 40 people groups. These are usually divided into four major groups based on their languages: West Nilotic people who live mainly in the north of the country, East Nilot people mainly living in the East, people who speak Sudanese languages as lukewarm and Madi in the North West, and various Bantu people. The latter constitute two-thirds of the population and live mainly in southern and southwestern Uganda. About one-sixth of the Ugandans belong to the Bantu people of Baganda, whose traditional settlement area Buganda in the south has named the country. Other major bantu groups are banyan school, basoga and baky.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Uganda, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
Iteso in the east belongs to the east nilotic group. People groups in the poor northeastern province of Karamoja also speak Eastern Nilotic languages as well as the kakwa group in the northwest corner of Uganda. Langi and acholi are two large western Nilotic peoples living in the north. They speak dialects of luo, a language also used in Kenya. In the mountains to the west live a smaller number of people belonging to the batwa group (formerly called pygmies). They have been living in difficult social conditions since being displaced from their traditional areas as the rainforests have been felled.
Uganda’s history has been characterized by contradictions between people groups in the south (mainly Bantu people) and those in the north.
About two million Ugandans live and work abroad, many of them in Kenya, the United Kingdom or the United States.
Uganda has expelled large groups of people in several rounds. In 1970, then-President Milton Obote expelled 33,000 Kenyan immigrants and during his second term in the 1980s, he expelled some 70,000 Rwandans. Most talked about is the dictator Idi Amin’s 1972 expulsion of nearly all around 50,000 people of Asian origin (some sources speak of 80,000), which belonged to the economic elite. In 1991, current President Yoweri Museveni offered the Asians who emigrated or forced away by Amin to return to the country. Some of them returned and regained their businesses and other possessions, which created tensions between them and black Ugandans who saw Asian entrepreneurs as competitors. In 2008, it became possible for Asians who returned to hold dual citizenship.
Clashes between government forces and Ugandan guerrilla movements and conflicts in neighboring countries have caused large refugee flows. The war against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda (see Political system and Modern history) led to a maximum of 1.8 million Ugandans being forced to live in camps in difficult conditions. Since the LRA left northern Uganda in 2008, the camps were closed down and most of the internal refugees have returned home.
Unrest in neighboring countries has led to large refugee flows to Uganda. At the beginning of 2019, according to the UNHCR, there were almost 1.2 million refugees in Uganda, of whom almost 800,000 came from South Sudan, almost 320,000 from Congo-Kinshasa, just over 35,000 from Burundi and 57,000 from other countries.
The refugees have the same right to health care, education and other public services as Ugandan citizens. They live in settlements more similar to villages than refugee camps, and have the right to work and to use the land. However, the UNHCR struggled to provide the refugees with what they needed.
English is the official language of Uganda, but it is only spoken by a small part of the population, mainly urban dwellers. The English spoken is often influenced by local languages. There are about as many local languages as there are folk groups. The Bantu language luganda is the biggest. Swahili, which dominates in the rest of East Africa, is less common in Uganda, much because it has been mainly the language of the military and thus has a negative tone.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
baganda 17%, banyan school 10%, basoga 8%, baked 7%, iteso 6%, langi 6%, acholi 5% and just over 30 other groups (census 2002)
Number of residents
42 862 958 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
23.2 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
42.1 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
8.7 per 1000 residents (2016)
3.3 percent (2017)
5.6 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
50.3 percent (2017)
60 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
62 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
58 years (2016)
English is the official language and teaching language 1
1.40 local and regional languages of which Luanda and Swahili are the largest
Hundreds of dead in massacres
LRA rebels are committing another massacre on civilians in Congo-Kinshasa. According to a UN investigation, at least 300 Congolese are killed and several hundred kidnapped.
Aid donors require a stop for teams
During the fall, churches and other organizations have been conducting campaigns targeting homosexuals. The United States and several other donors urge Uganda not to enforce the bill. Sweden threatens to withdraw its assistance if the law is adopted.
Bill on increased punishment for homosexuality
A member of parliament from the ruling party proposes that the legislation be tightened so that life imprisonment should be tightened to have sex with a person of the same sex, and that homosexuals who have sex with minors or the disabled should be sentenced to death. (see Social conditions).
Guerrilla leaders surrender to the military
LRA leader Charles Arop surrenders to Ugandan military in Congo-Kinshasa. Calls are believed to have left behind a massacre of hundreds of people in Congo-Kinshasa on Christmas Day 2008. According to analysts, LRA has been split into a number of small groups of combatants scattered in Congo-Kinshasa, Central African Republic and southern Sudan. From June to November 2009, around fifty LRA members surrendered and surrendered to the Congolese army and sent back to Uganda.
Demands for increased self-government
A power struggle is underway between President Museveni and the traditional leaders, where the residents of Buganda, which is largely part of Baganda, the country’s largest people, demand increased self-government. The Baganda people have also demanded the return of land that had previously belonged to them. The King has planned a round trip in Kayunga, where a majority of the population now consists of ethnic groups other than Baganda. There are no strong contradictions between Baganda and Museveni before, but if the government meets their demands on land, other people can come up with similar requirements.
Claws erupt after a ban on visitors
On September 10, riots erupt in Kampala when a representative of Buganda, one of the country’s traditional kingdoms (see Older History), is prevented from visiting Kayunga, a region near the capital. More than twenty people are killed in the clashes between supporters of Buganda’s king Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and police and military. Most of the victims are shot to death. Several hundred protesters are arrested. Both human rights organizations and several media accuse the police of having taken violence against the protesters.
Rebel leader seized
Ugandan military reports that an LRA leader, Okot Atiak, has been arrested in the Central African Republic. He is accused of leading forces carrying out a massacre of 200 people in Uganda in 1995.
Soldiers are withdrawn
3,000 Ugandan soldiers who participated in the offensive against the LRA in Congo-Kinshasa should now begin to withdraw. About 100 rebels are reported to have been killed and 90 captured during the first three months of the year, while the rebels have continued to abuse civilian Congolese.
Large oil deposits are discovered in the area around Albertsjön.