Saturday, June 13, 2009
In Mozambique, the number of Portuguese speakers is increasing in urban areas, especially among the young population of the capital Maputo where Portuguese is gaining ground on various local languages. The National Institute of Statistics in Mozambique indicates that Portuguese is spoken by 40% of the Mozambican population, estimated at 20.3 million (that's the population of Mozambique, not the number of Portuguese speakers), used at home by 9% and is the mother tongue of 6.5%. Ninety percent of those that have Portuguese as a mother tongue live in urban areas. 80% of the population of Mozambique lives in rural areas where the need to speak Portuguese is not so strong.
The city of Maputo has a population of approximately 960,000, of which 412,000 have Portuguese as an official language. The age group with the largest number of Portuguese speakers is that of ages five to nine (!), with 85,603 speakers. By comparison, there are only 16,000 speakers aged 35-39.
Also don't forget that the influence is also extending to nearby countries like Zambia, which has decided to introduce Portuguese in the school curriculum (but that's mostly because of oil-rich Angola in the west).