The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated four million Macua are the dominant group in the northern part of the country; the Sena and Shona (mostly Ndau) are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Shangaan (Tsonga) dominate in southern Mozambique. Other groups include Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi, and Nguni (including Zulu). Bantu people comprise 97.8% of the population, with the rest made up of White Africans (largely of Portuguese ancestry), Euro-Africans (mestiço people of mixed Bantu and Portuguese heritage), and Indians. Roughly 45,000 people of Indian descent reside in Mozambique.

During Portuguese colonial rule, a large minority of people of Portuguese descent lived permanently in almost all areas of the country, and Mozambicans with Portuguese blood at the time of independence numbered about 360,000. Many of these left the country after independence from Portugal in 1975. There are various estimates for the size of Mozambique’s Chinese community, ranging from 7,000 to 12,000 as of 2007.

According to a 2011 survey, the total fertility rate was 5.9 children per woman, with 6.6 in rural areas and 4.5 in urban areas.