Provinces of Zimbabwe

Buy data    Donate


Sorin Cosoveanu sent me census data from source [10].

There is sufficient evidence that the capital of Matabeleland North province has moved from Bulawayo to Lupane. Source [6] says, "the administrative centre of Matabeleland North was recently moved from Bulawayo to Lupane." Source [7] mentions "Lupane, the Matabeleland North capital". Source [8] says "Lupane ... was declared the capital of Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North province four years ago." Similar evidence shows that the capital of Mashonaland East has moved from Harare to Marondera, but no date can be established for the move.

Source [5] had 1992 and 2002 census figures for the provinces and districts of Zimbabwe. There are two discrepancies between the figures given on that site for 1992 and the figures previously shown on this page. Mashonaland Central has 875,318 according to [5], 857,318 according to my former data; Midlands has 1,302,214 according to [5], 1,302,212 according to my former data. The total population, according to [5], is 10,401,767, which is compatible with only one combination of the putative populations. The total of the province populations comes out right using my figure for Mashonaland Central and [5]'s figure for Midlands. That is the combination shown below.

Change Notice 8 to FIPS PUB 10-4 is dated 2002-06-28. It lists codes for the new cities with provincial status, Bulawayo and Harare.

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Zimbabwe, the draft standard showed eight provinces. The final standard shows the same eight provinces, with the same codes, and two new divisions, which are cities with provincial status: Bulawayo and Harare.

Country overview: 

Short nameZIMBABWE
ISO codeZW
LanguageEnglish (en)
Time zone+2


Southern Rhodesia was a territory administered by the British South Africa Company at the start of the 20th century. It became a British colony in 1923. It joined in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland during that entity's term of existence (1953-1963), and then returned to colony status. In an attempt to retain a European-dominated government, it declared independence unilaterally. After some 14 years as a pariah state, it gave up the attempt and became fully independent as Zimbabwe.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Zimbabwe
  2. Dutch: Zimbabwe, Republiek Zimbabwe (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Zimbabwe (formal), Southern Rhodesia (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Zimbabwe
  5. French: Zimbabwe m
  6. German: Simbabwe n
  7. Icelandic: Simbabve
  8. Italian: Zimbabwe
  9. Norwegian: Zimbabwe, Republikken Zimbabwe (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Zimbabwe, Zimbábue (Brazil), República f do Zimbábue m (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Зимбабве (formal), Родезия (obsolete)
  12. Spanish: Zimbabue, República f de Zimbabue (formal), Rodesia (obsolete)
  13. Swedish: Zimbabwe
  14. Turkish: Zimbabve, Zimbabve Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Named for ancient capital in ruins, whose name is Bantu zimba: palace, bwe: stone

Primary subdivisions: 

Zimbabwe is divided into eight provinces and two cities with provincial status.

Mashonaland CentralZW.MCZI031,152,52028,34710,945Bindura
Mashonaland EastZW.MEZI041,344,95532,23012,444MaronderaMarandellas
Mashonaland WestZW.MWZI051,501,65657,44122,178ChinhoyiSinoia
MasvingoZW.MVZI081,485,09056,56621,840MasvingoFort Victoria
Matabeleland NorthZW.MNZI06749,01775,02528,967Lupane
Matabeleland SouthZW.MSZI07683,89354,17220,916Gwanda
10 divisions13,061,239390,757150,872
  • Province: Bulawayo and Harare are cities with provincial status.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by
    hyphens, these are the same as the province codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Population: 2012-08-18 census.
  • Alt: Former or variant name for capital.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Zimbabwe page.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Zimbabwe lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

Manica, Mashona, and Matabele are all ethnic names.

Change history: 

  1. 1923-10-01: Southern Rhodesia became a British colony.
  2. ~1947: At about this time, the divisions of Southern Rhodesia were Mashonaland and Matabeleland, subdivided into 32 districts.
  • Population: 1941 census (source [3]).
  1. 1953-07-14: British Parliament passed the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation Act, by which Northern Rhodesia protectorate, Nyasaland protectorate, and Southern Rhodesia colony were joined in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (capital Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia).
  2. ~1957: Sources [1] and [4] give the following provinces of Southern Rhodesia. Populations are from source [1], which says, "African population only, based on a sample census." Source [4] gives the total population from a 1954 estimate as 2,321,000.
  • Population: 1948-08-31 census.
  • Present-day: Approximate area covered.
  1. 1963-12-31: Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolved into its original components.
  2. 1965-11-11: Southern Rhodesia declared independence unilaterally, taking the name Rhodesia.
  3. ~1973: Matabeleland split into Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
Mashonaland North730,65063,53524,531Sinoia
Mashonaland South1,129,55042,41816,378Salisbury
Matabeleland North600,42089,61934,602Wankie
Matabeleland South366,66049,69119,186Bulawayo
Victoria723,40053,78620,767Fort Victoria
  • Population: 1969-04-21 census (source [9]).
  1. 1979: Rhodesia began to style itself "Zimbabwe Rhodesia" as it moved toward integration.
  2. 1979-12-12: Zimbabwe Rhodesia returned to the status of a British colony.
  3. 1980-04-18: The country attained independence and changed its name to Republic of Zimbabwe. Name of the capital changed from Salisbury to Harare. The names of Victoria province and its capital, Fort Victoria, began to fall out of favor and be replaced by the native name Masvingo.
  4. ~1981: Mashonaland North split into Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West (part); Mashonaland South split into Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West (part). Part of Matabeleland South around the city of Zvishavane annexed to Midlands.
  5. ~1997: Bulawayo city split from Matabeleland North province; Harare split from Mashonaland East.
  6. ~2000: Capital of Mashonaland East province moved from Harare to Marondera. Capital of Matabeleland North province moved from Bulawayo to Lupane.

Other names of subdivisions: 

Masvingo: Victoria (obsolete)

Population history:

Bulawayo 620,936676,650653,337
Harare 1,478,8101,896,1342,123,132
Mashonaland Central563,407857,318995,4271,152,520
Mashonaland East1,495,9841,033,3361,127,4131,344,955
Mashonaland West858,9621,116,9281,224,6701,501,656
Matabeleland North885,339640,957704,948749,017
Matabeleland South519,606591,747653,054683,893


  1. [1] Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  2. [2] Webster's Geographical Dictionary. G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, MA, 1957.
  3. [3] The Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1951 edition.
  4. [4] The Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1957 edition.
  5. [5] Zimbabwe Relief and Recovery page (retrieved from, dead link, on 2004-04-21). It cites "Census 1992, Preliminary Report, Central Statistical Office" and "Census 2002, Preliminary Results Summary, Central Statistical Office".
  6. [6] Report on Zimbabwe, Permanent Committee on Geographical Names , London (dated 2002-03-01, retrieved 2005-10-16).
  7. [7] Zimbabwe Situation  report (item dated 2002-05-24, retrieved 2005-10-16).
  8. [8] Inter Press Service  report (apparently dated 2003-10-23, retrieved 2005-10-16).
  9. [9] Almanaque Abril 1979. Editora Abril, Säo Paulo, 1978.
  10. [10] Zimbabwe National Population Census 2012 . Zimstat (retrieved 2013-12-21).
Back to main statoids page Last updated: 2015-06-30
Copyright © 1999, 2001-2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 by Gwillim Law.