Districts of Malawi

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Updates: 

Neno district has been split from Mwanza. Source [2] says that the split happened in 2007-07. However, Wikipedia (source [3]) dates it to 2003. Source [4] states, "The Mwanza District has recently been split into two districts, namely the Mwanza and Neno districts. The Neno District does not yet have administrative structures in place, but there is a District Commissioner in place." The report doesn't seem to be dated, but it cites many dates, and none of them is later than 2003. The explanation may be that the split officially took place in 2003, but the governmental implementation wasn't complete until 2007. Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard (2010-06-30), assigns an ISO code to the new district. Update 2 to "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" was published on 2010-11-30. It assigns the FIPS code.

Balaka, Likoma, and Phalombe districts were created in 1998. They were added to ISO 3166-2 by Newsletter Number I-2 (2002-05-21). FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4 (2004-10-01), assigned FIPS codes to the new districts. It also changed the FIPS codes of the old districts from which they were formed, except for Nkhata Bay.

Country overview: 

Short nameMALAWI
ISO codeMW
FIPS codeMI
LanguageEnglish (en),Chichewa
Time zone+2
CapitalLilongwe

 

In 1900, modern Malawi was the protectorate of British Central Africa. In 1907, the name was changed to Nyasaland Protectorate. On 1953-07-14, Nyasaland joined with Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The federation was dissolved when Nyasaland withdrew in 1963. When it became independent on 1964-07-06, it changed its name to Malawi.

Other names of country: 

  1. Chichewa: Dziko la Malawi (formal)
  2. Danish: Malawi
  3. Dutch: Malawi, Republiek Malawi (formal)
  4. English: Republic of Malaŵi (formal), Nyasaland (obsolete)
  5. Finnish: Malawi
  6. French: Malawi m
  7. German: Malawi n
  8. Icelandic: Malaví
  9. Italian: Malawi m
  10. Norwegian: Malawi, Republikken Malawi (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Malawi, Malavi, Malauí, Malaui (Brazil), República f do Malawi m (formal), Niassalândia f (obsolete)
  12. Russian: Республика Малави (formal)
  13. Spanish: Malaui, República f de Malawi (formal)
  14. Swedish: Malawi
  15. Turkish: Malavi Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

after the Chewa name for the lake

Primary subdivisions: 

Malawi is divided into 28 districts.

DistrictRegHASCISOFIPSPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)
BalakaSMW.BABAMI26316,7482,193847
BlantyreSMW.BLBLMI24999,4912,012777
ChikwawaSMW.CKCKMI02438,8954,7551,836
ChiradzuluSMW.CRCRMI03290,946767296
ChitipaNMW.CTCTMI04179,0724,2881,656
DedzaCMW.DEDEMI06623,7893,6241,399
DowaCMW.DODOMI07556,6783,0411,174
KarongaNMW.KRKRMI08272,7893,3551,295
KasunguCMW.KSKSMI09616,0857,8783,042
LikomaNMW.LKLKMI2710,445187
LilongweCMW.LILIMI111,897,1676,1592,378
MachingaSMW.MAMHMI28488,9963,7711,456
MangochiSMW.MGMGMI12803,6026,2732,422
MchinjiCMW.MCMCMI13456,5583,3561,296
MulanjeSMW.MJMUMI29525,4292,056794
MwanzaSMW.MNMWMI2594,476826319
MzimbaNMW.MZMZMI15853,30510,4304,027
NenoSMW.NNNEMI31108,8971,469567
Nkhata BayNMW.NANBMI17213,7794,0711,572
NkhotakotaCMW.NKNKMI18301,8684,2591,644
NsanjeSMW.NSNSMI19238,0891,942750
NtcheuCMW.NUNUMI16474,4643,4241,322
NtchisiCMW.NINIMI20224,0981,655639
PhalombeSMW.PHPHMI30313,2271,394538
RumphiNMW.RURUMI21169,1124,7691,841
SalimaCMW.SASAMI22340,3272,196848
ThyoloSMW.THTHMI05587,4551,715662
ZombaSMW.ZOZOMI23670,5332,580996
28 districts13,066,32094,27636,400
  • Reg: Region to which the district belongs (see codes below).
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced
    by hyphens, these are the same as the district codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • ISO: District codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context,
    prefix "MW-" to the code (ex: MW-NU represents Ntcheu).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Population: 2008-06-08 census (preliminary results, source [5]).
  • Capitals have the same name as their districts.

Further subdivisions:

There are also three regions, each containing several districts: Central (C), Northern (N), and Southern (S). In census reports, a few districts are shown divided into urban and rural parts: Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzimba (whose urban part is Mzuzu City), and Zomba.

At a lower level, Malawi is divided into traditional authorities, sub-traditional authorities (or sub-chiefs), towns, national parks, game reserves, etc. The urban areas are divided into wards. Some traditional authorities straddle district borders, so these subsidiary divisions don't fit precisely into a hierarchical scheme.

Territorial extent: 

Northern region contains the islands of Likoma and Chisamula in Lake Malawi. These islands are surrounded by Mozambican waters, making them exclaves.

Origins of names: 

Blantyre: named by Livingstone for his birthplace, Blantyre, Scotland

Change history: 

The Institute for Security Studies says (source [6]), "The number of districts can be increased or decreased at any time as determined by the Office of the President and Cabinet. As such, the number of districts has been varying since independence.... (Muula & Chanika, 2005)"

  1. ~1958: Name and capital of Chinteche district changed to Nkhata Bay; Chitipa district split from Karonga; Fort Manning-Lilongwe district split into Fort Manning (later Mchinji) and Lilongwe; Liwonde-Zomba district split into Liwonde (later Kasupe) and Zomba; Neno district merged with Blantyre; Ntchisi district split from Dowa; Rumphi district split from Mzimba; Salima district split from Kota Kota (later Nkhotakota).
  2. 1964-07-06: At independence, Malawi had 23 districts. If I haven't missed anything in the change history since then, they would have been Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Machinga, Fort Johnston, Mchinji, Mlange, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Rumpi, Salima, Thyolo, and Zomba.
  3. 1969-05: Chiradzulu district merged with Blantyre.
  4. 1970-01: Chiradzulu district split from Blantyre again.
  5. 1971-01: Mwanza district split from Blantyre (formerly FIPS MI01).
  6. 1971-03-26: Name of Fort Johnston district, and its capital, changed to Mangoche; name of Mlange district, and its capital, changed to Mulanje; name of Rumpi district, and its capital, changed to Rumphi.
  7. 1975-01-01: Capital of Malawi moved from Zomba to Lilongwe.
  8. 1998-06: Balaka district split from Machinga (formerly FIPS MI10); Phalombe district split from Mulanje (formerly MI14); Likoma district split from Nkhata Bay (FIPS code unchanged). Likoma probably consists of Likoma and Chisamula Islands in Lake Malawi.
  9. 2003: Neno district split from Mwanza (former HASC code MW.MW).

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Likoma: Likoma Island (variant)
  2. Lilongwe: Lilongüe (Spanish)
  3. Machinga: Kasupe, Kasupi, Liwonde (obsolete)
  4. Mangochi: Fort Johnston (obsolete)
  5. Mchinji: Fort Manning (obsolete)
  6. Mulanje: Mlange, Mlanje (variant)
  7. Nkhata Bay: Chinteche (obsolete)
  8. Nkhotakota: Kota Kota (obsolete)
  9. Nsanje: Port Herald (obsolete)
  10. Ntcheu: Ncheu (obsolete)
  11. Ntchisi: Nchisi (variant)
  12. Rumphi: Rumpi (variant)
  13. Thyolo: Cholo (obsolete)

Population history:

Regions:

RegionISO19451966-08-091977-09-201987-091998-092008-06-08Area(km.²)Capital
CentralC751,3901,474,9522,143,7163,110,9864,066,3405,491,03435,592Lilongwe
NorthernN290,859497,491648,853911,7871,233,5601,698,50226,931Mzuzu
SouthernS1,007,8022,067,1402,754,8913,965,7344,633,9685,876,78431,753Blantyre
Total2,050,0514,039,5835,547,4607,988,5079,933,86813,066,32094,276
  • ISO: Region codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a
    global context, prefix "MW-" to the code (ex: MW-C represents Central).
  • Dates are census dates.

 

Districts:

District1987-091998-092008-06-08
Balaka253,098316,748
Blantyre589,525809,397999,491
Chikwawa316,733356,682438,895
Chiradzulu210,912236,050290,946
Chitipa96,794126,799179,072
Dedza411,787486,682623,789
Dowa322,432411,387556,678
Karonga148,014194,572272,789
Kasungu323,453480,659616,085
Likoma8,07410,445
Lilongwe976,6271,346,3601,897,167
Machinga515,265369,614488,996
Mangochi496,578610,239803,602
Mchinji249,843324,941456,558
Mulanje638,062428,322525,429
Mwanza121,513138,01594,476
Mzimba433,696610,994853,305
Neno108,897
Nkhata Bay138,381164,761213,779
Nkhotakota158,044229,460301,868
Nsanje204,374194,924238,089
Ntcheu358,767370,757474,464
Ntchisi120,860167,880224,098
Phalombe231,990313,227
Rumphi94,902128,360169,112
Salima189,173248,214340,327
Thyolo431,157458,976587,455
Zomba441,615546,661670,533

Sources: 

  1. [1] 1998 Malawi Census Analytical Report  has census population for the whole country going back to 1901 on p. 8 (document numbering; retrieved 2010-10-17).
  2. [2] Mwanza District Assembly District Education Plan  (December 2007).
  3. [3] Wikipedia, "Neno District ", first posted 2008-09-20.
  4. [4] Environmental Impact Assessment: Mozambique-Malawi Interconnection Draft  (retrieved 2010-10-17).
  5. [5] "2008 Population and Housing Census, Preliminary Report", National Statistical Office. Zomba, Malawi, Sept. 2008. http://nso.malawi.net/data_on_line/demography/census_2008/MWCensus08_report.pdf (dead link, retrieved 2008-11-15).
  6. [6] Institute for Security Studies http://www.issafrica.org/index.php?link_id=14&slink_id=5599&link_type=12&slink_type=12&tmpl_id=3 (dead link),
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