Table 1

Characteristics of the Malawian population according to area of residence and sex

All n=24 943
(%)
Rural residentsUrban residents
Women n=7096
(58.7%)
Men n=5000
(41.3%)
Women n=8563
(66.7%)
Men n=4284
(33.3%)
Age—mean (SD)35.2 (14.7)37.6 (15.6)38.1 (16.5)32.4 (12.4)33.2 (14.1)
Ethnicity—N (%)Chewa4934 (19.8)180 (2.5)106 (2.1)3183 (37.2)1465 (34.2)
Tumbuka10 815 (43.4)5355 (75.5)3847 (77.0)1025 (12.0)588 (13.7)
Ngoni2746 (11.0)142 (2.0)99 (2.0)1691 (19.8)814 (19.0)
Yao1052 (4.2)18 (0.2)20 (0.4)665 (7.7)349 (8.1)
Lomwe1810 (7.2)13 (0.2)10 (0.2)1146 (13.4)641 (15.0)
Nkonde979 (3.9)517 (7.3)267 (5.3)133 (1.5)62 (1.5)
Other2607 (10.5)871 (12.3)651 (13.0)720 (8.4)365 (8.5)
Education—N (%)No formal892 (3.6)376 (5.3)82 (1.6)382 (4.4)52 (1.2)
Standard 1–52632 (10.5)1142 (16.1)522 (10.4)779 (9.1)189 (4.4)
Standard 6–88352 (33.5)3715 (52.3)2076 (41.5)1958 (22.9)603 (14.1)
Secondary10 722 (43.0)1794 (25.3)2177 (43.6)4315 (50.4)2436 (56.9)
Tertiary2345 (9.4)69 (1.0)143 (2.9)1129 (13.2)1004 (23.4)
Quintiles of household assets score—median (IQR)141.0 (52.5)31.5 (31.0)33.0 (33.0)70.5 (41.0)72.5 (39.5)
2117.5 (131.0)74.5 (14.0)74.5 (16.5)205.5 (46.5)205.5 (58.5)
3282.5 (209.5)115.5 (10.0)115.5 (10.0)325.5 (183.5)325.5 (160.5)
4520.5 (286.0)234 (38.5)234.5 (39.5)520.5 (35.0)520.5 (35.0)
52405.5 (2058.5)457.5 (177.2)459.5 (200.0)2520.5 (35.0)2520.5 (35.0)
Marital status—N (%)Never married5442 (21.8)508 (7.2)1134 (22.7)1777 (20.8)2023 (47.2)
Married16 119 (64.7)4946 (69.8)3616 (72.5)5490 (64.1)2067 (48.3)
Widowed1563 (6.3)878 (12.4)62 (1.2)561 (6.5)62 (1.4)
Divorced1799 (7.2)752 (10.6)180 (3.6)735 (8.6)132 (3.1)
Number of pregnancies*—N (%)02031 (13.0)469 (6.6)NA1560 (18.2)NA
12181 (13.9)704 (10.0)NA1476 (17.3)NA
22420 (15.5)886 (12.5)NA1534 (17.9)NA
32254 (14.4)937 (13.2)NA1317 (15.4)NA
4+6754 (43.2)4079 (57.7)NA2675 (31.2)NA
Smoking status—N (%)Never23 323 (93.5)7077 (99.7)4114 (82.3)8518 (99.5)3614 (84.4)
Former565 (2.3)8 (0.1)227 (4.5)29 (0.3)301 (7.0)
Current1055 (4.2)11 (0.2)659 (13.2)16 (0.2)369 (8.6)
Alcohol intake—N (%)Never20 540 (82.4)6854 (96.6)2906 (58.1)8036 (93.8)2744 (64.0)
<1 month1174 (4.7)98 (1.4)477 (9.5)240 (2.8)359 (8.4)
1–3 days/month1520 (6.1)87 (1.2)670 (13.4)202 (2.4)561 (13.1)
1–4 days/week1333 (5.3)49 (0.7)759 (15.2)63 (0.7)462 (10.8)
5+ days/week376 (1.5)8 (0.1)188 (3.8)22 (0.3)158 (3.7)
Physical activity level†—N (%)Low527 (2.1)100 (1.4)115 (2.3)127 (1.5)185 (4.3)
Moderate1545 (6.2)224 (3.2)529 (10.6)204 (2.4)588 (13.7)
High22 871 (91.7)6772 (94.4)4356 (87.1)8232 (96.1)3511 (82.0)
Lipid-lowering medication—N (%)No raised cholesterol24 881 (99.75)7088 (99.9)4997 (99.94)8528 (99.6)4268 (99.63)
No medication53 (0.21)8 (0.1)2 (0.04)28 (0.3)15 (0.35)
Taking medication9 (0.04)0 (0.0)1 (0.02)7 (0.1)1 (0.02)
HIV status—N (%)HIV negative18 739 (89.4)4729 (87.0)3325 (89.5)7203 (89.1)3551 (93.6)
HIV positive2217 (10.6)709 (13.0)381 (10.5)883 (10.9)244 (6.4)
ART status‡—N (%)On ART1440 (90.8)482 (94.2)239 (89.9)573 (89.4)139 (86.9)
Not on ART146 (9.2)30 (5.8)27 (10.1)68 (10.6)21 (13.1)
  • *Information available only for women.

  • †Level of physical activity based on metabolic equivalent (MET).

  • ‡Based on those who reported being HIV positive.

  • ART, anti-retroviral therapy; NA, not applicable.