Demographics of Afghanistan

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This article is about the "citizens of Afghanistan". For ethnic Afghans, see Pashtun people.
Demographics of Afghanistan
Afghans at Ghazi Stadium in 2011.jpg
Sport fans inside the Ghazi Stadium in the capital of Kabul, which is multi-ethnic.
Population 31,108,077 (2013 est.)[1]
Growth rate 2.22% (2012 est.)
Birth rate 39.3 births/1,000 population
Death rate 14.59 deaths/1,000 population
Life expectancy c. 60 years (2011) [2]
 • male 59 years
 • female 61 years
Fertility rate 5.10 children born/woman (2010)[3]
Infant mortality rate 121.63 deaths/1,000 live births
Age structure
0–14 years 42.3% (male 6,464,070/female 6,149,468)
15–64 years 55.3% (male 8,460,486/female 8,031,968)
65 and over 2.4% (male 349,349/female 380,051)
Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male/female
Under 15 1.03 male/female
15–64 years 1.04 male/female
65 and over 0.87 male/female
Nationality
Nationality noun: Afghan(s)
Major ethnic Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, and others
Language
Official Pashto and Dari [4]
Spoken Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmeni, and other

The population of Afghanistan is around 31 million as of the year 2013,[1] which includes the 2.7 million Afghan diasporeans that are residing temporarily in Pakistan and Iran.[5] The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between Central Asia, Southern Asia, and Western Asia. The majority of Afghanistan's population consist of Pashtun people followed by Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch and others.[6]

Pashto and Dari are both the official languages of the country,[4] Dari (Afghan Persian) is mostly spoken in the Tajik and Hazara dominated areas while Pashto is spoken mainly in the Pashtun tribal areas south of the Hindu Kush mountains. Uzbek language and Turkmen language are spoken in parts of the north. Smaller groups in various parts of the country speak about 30 other languages.[7] Multilingualism is common throughout the country, especially in the major cities.

Islam is the religion of more than 99% of Afghanistan. An estimated 80-89% of the population practice Sunni Islam and belong to the Hanafi Islamic law school while 10-19% are Shia,[8][9][10][11] majority of the Shia follow the Twelver branch with smaller numbers of Ismailis. The remaining 1% or less practice other religions such as Sikhism and Hinduism. Excluding urban populations in the principal cities, most Afghans are organized into tribal and other kinship-based groups, who follow their own traditional customs: for instance Pashtunwali. Majority of the Afghans live in rural areas and are involved in agricultural activities.

Population statistics[edit]

Further information: Afghan diaspora

As of 2013, the total population of Afghanistan is around 31,108,077,[1] which includes the 2.7 million Afghan refugees that are living in Pakistan and Iran.[5] In 2009, a nationwide survey conducted by the Afghan Central Statistics Organization (CSO) estimated that the total number of Afghans living inside Afghanistan was about 24.5 million and by 2011 it reached 26 million. Of this, 5.7 million people were reported to be living in urban areas and the rest in rural or countryside.[5]

After the 1978 Marxist coup, hundreds of Afghans left the country as refugees - most of these were related to the ousted president Mohammad Daoud Khan. From the start of the Soviet invasion until the end of 1983, some 4 million people, a quarter of the population, left the country.[12] By 1984, there were 3.2 million refugees in Pakistan - the monthly peak being 180,000 in February 1981.[13]

A partial census conducted in 1979 showed roughly 15.5 million people living in the country.[14] The Statistical Yearbook published in 1983 by the Babrak Karmal government claimed a total population of 15.96 million for 1981–82.[15] Between 600,000 to 2 million Afghans were killed during the various 1979–2001 wars, majority of them during the Soviet war in the 1980s.[16] At least 5 million more fled the country to neighboring countries. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the Afghan population is estimated to increase to 82 million by 2050.[17]

Urban areas are experiencing rapid population growth since the Karzai administration began in late 2001, which is mainly due to the return of over 5 million expats. The only city in Afghanistan with over a million residents is its capital, Kabul. The other largest cities in the country are shown in the chart below.

Age structure[edit]

Young Afghan men and women at a rock music festival inside the Gardens of Babur in 2011.

0–14 years: 42.3% (male 6,464,070/female 6,149,468)
15–64 years: 55.3% (male 8,460,486/female 8,031,968)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 349,349/female 380,051) (2011 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

2.22% (2012 est.)[5]
country comparison to the world: 39

Urbanization[edit]

urbanization population: 24% of the total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.4% annual rate of change (2005–10 est.)

Sex ratio[edit]

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Vital statistics[edit]

UN estimates[19][edit]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1 CDR1 NC1 TFR1 IMR1
1950–1955 450 000 313 000 136 000 52.9 36.9 16.0 7.70 275.0
1955–1960 489 000 322 000 168 000 52.9 34.8 18.1 7.70 260.6
1960–1965 538 000 333 000 205 000 52.8 32.7 20.2 7.70 245.4
1965–1970 596 000 343 000 253 000 52.6 30.3 22.4 7.70 228.1
1970–1975 664 000 356 000 308 000 52.1 27.9 24.2 7.70 211.4
1975–1980 713 000 354 000 360 000 51.5 25.6 26.0 7.70 194.5
1980–1985 694 000 323 000 372 000 51.8 24.1 27.7 7.80 182.8
1985–1990 669 000 291 000 378 000 52.2 22.7 29.5 7.90 171.9
1990–1995 863 000 352 000 512 000 52.6 21.4 31.2 8.00 161.8
1995–2000 1 118 000 429 000 688 000 52.4 20.1 32.3 8.00 152.3
2000–2005 1 221 000 463 000 759 000 48.4 18.3 30.1 7.35 143.7
2005–2010 1 332 000 496 000 836 000 45.1 16.8 28.3 6.62 136.0
1 CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births

Fertility and Births[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[20]


Year CBR (Total) TFR (Total) CBR (Urban) TFR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Rural)
2010 35,6 5,1 34,7 4,5 35,9 5,2

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

total population: 60+ years (2013)[2][21]


country comparison to the world: 214
male: 59 years (2013)[21]
female: 61 years (2013)[21]

Development and health indicators[edit]

Afghan children at the HQ ISAF, Kabul Women's Bazaar with Laura Walko, civilian employee.
Gathering of students in 2006 at the Agam High School in Nangarhar Province.

Literacy[edit]

Definition: People over the age of 15 can read and write
Total population: 31% (2005 est.)[21]
Male: 43% (2005)
Female: 20% (2005)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)[edit]

total: 8 years
male: 11 years
female: 4 years (2004)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate[edit]

About 0% (2011 est.)

In 2008, health officials in Afghanistan reported 504[22] cases of people living with HIV but by the end of 2012 the numbers reached 1,327. The nation's healthy ministry stated that most of the HIV patients were among intravenous drug users and that 70% of them were men, 25% women, and the remaining 5% children. They belonged to Kabul, Kandahar and Herat, the provinces from where people make the most trips to neighboring or other foreign countries.[23] Regarding Kandahar, 22 cases were reported in 2012. "AIDS Prevention department head Dr Hamayoun Rehman said 1,320 blood samples were examined and 21 were positive. Among the 21 patients, 18 were males and three were females who contracted the deadly virus from their husbands. He said four people had reached a critical stage while three had died. The main source of the disease was the use of syringes used by drug addicts."[24] There are approximately 23,000 addicts in the country who inject drugs into their bodies using syringes. It is estimated that between 2,000 to 3,000 people maybe living with the deadly virus in Afghanistan.[25]


country comparison to the world: 168

HIV/AIDS – deaths[edit]

About 11 people, most of them drug addicts.[25]

Major infectious diseases[edit]

Degree of risk: high

  • Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
  • Vector-borne diseases: malaria
  • Animal contact diseases: rabies

Note: WH5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk as of 2009.[citation needed]

Ethnic groups[edit]

In 2013, the total population of Afghanistan was 27.5 million.[26] An additional 3 million or so Afghans are temporarily living in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. This makes the estimated total Afghan population around 31,108,077.[1] Because a systematic census has not been held in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are unvailable. The government recently began issuing computerized ID cards in which the ethnicity of each citizen is to be provided in the application.[27] This process is expected to reveal the exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups living in the country.[28]

An approximate distribution of the ethnic groups found today in Afghanistan is shown in the chart below:

Ethnic groups in Afghanistan
Ethnic group World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies estimate (2004–present)[6][10] World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies estimates (pre-2004)[29][30][31]
Pashtun 42% 50%
Tajik 27% 25% (of this 1% are Qizilbash)
Hazara 9% 8–9%
Uzbek 15% 6–8%
Aimak 4% 500,000 to 800,000
Turkmen 3% 2.5%
Baloch 2% 100,000
Others (Pashai, Nuristani, Arab, Brahui, Pamiri, Gujjar, etc.) 4% 6.9%


The 2004–present suggested figures in the above chart are supported by recent national opinion polls, which were aimed at knowing how a group of about 804 to 7,760 local residents in Afghanistan felt about the current war, political situation, as well as the economic and social issues affecting their daily lives. Seven of the surveys were conducted between 2004 to 2012 by the Asia Foundation and one between 2004 to 2009 by a combined effort of the broadcasting companies NBC News, BBC, and ARD.[32][33]

Answers regarding ethnicity provided by 804 to 7,760 Afghans in national opinion polls
Ethnic group "Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" (2004–2009)[33] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2006)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2007)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2008)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2009)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2010)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2011)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2012)[32]
Pashtun 38-46% 40.9% 40% Not reported Not reported 40% 38% 36%
Tajik 37-39% 37.1% 35% " " 31% 31% 33%
Hazara 6-13% 9.2% 10% " " 10% 11% 11%
Uzbek 5-7% 9.2% 8% " " 9% 13% 15%
Aimak 0-0% 0.1% 1% " " 2% 1% 1%
Turkmen 1-2% 1.7% 3% " " 2% 2% 2%
Baloch 1-3% 0.5% 1% " " 1% 1% 1%
Others (Pashayi, Nuristani, Arab, etc.) 0-4% 1.4% 2% " " 3% 3% 5%
No opinion 0-2% 0% 0% " " 0% 0% 0%


Languages[edit]

Afghan school textbooks written in Pashto language

Pashto and Dari are both designated as the official languages of Afghanistan.[4] Dari (Afghan Persian) serves as the lingua franca in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and other cities in northern and north-western Afghanistan. It is the language resorted to when people of different ethnic groups need to conduct business or otherwise communicate. Pashto is widely used in southern and eastern areas of the country where ethnic Pashtuns are the majority. The Afghan National Anthem is recited in Pashto.

Sources before 1996 stated that Pashto is the native tongue of 35-55% of the population and Dari being of 25-50%.[34] Uzbeki and Turkmeni are spoken in certain northern provinces, but mainly among the Uzbek and Turkmen tribes. Smaller number of Afghans are also fluent in Urdu, Balochi, Arabic and other languages. After the US-led invasion in late 2001, English language began to take hold in the country. Many Afghans are learning English in schools.

An approximate distribution of languages spoken in the country is shown in the line chart below:

Languages of Afghanistan
Language World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies (1992-present estimate)[7][10] Ethnologue / World Factbook / Iranica (pre-1992 estimates)[29][34][35]
Pashto 35% 35-40%
Dari 50% 50-55%
Uzbek 8,5% 8,5%-9%
Turkmen 2.5% 500,000 speakers
30 others (Balochi, Nuristani, Pashayi, Brahui, Hindko, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Gujari, etc.) 4% 4%


Based on information from the latest national opinion polls, up to 50% stated that Dari is their first language or mother tongue and Pashto being the mother tongue of about 35%. Uzbeki and Turkmeni was spoken or understood by up to 11%. Almost 85% of the people can speak Dari.[32][33]

Religions[edit]

Afghan politicians and foreign diplomats praying at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Almost the entire Afghan population is Muslim, with less than 1% being non-Muslim. Despite attempts to secularize Afghan society, Islamic practices pervade all aspects of life. Likewise, Islamic religious tradition and codes, together with traditional practices, provide the principal means of controlling personal conduct and settling legal disputes. Islam was used as the main basis for expressing opposition to the modernization of Afghanistan by King Amanullah in the 1920s. It was also used by the mujahideen during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and by the Taliban today.

National opinion polls (religion)
Religion "A survey of the Afghan people" (2004)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2006)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2007)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2008)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2009)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2010)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2011)[32] "A survey of the Afghan people" (2012)[32]
Sunni Islam 92% 87.9% 87% " " " " "
Shi'a Islam 7% 10.4% 12% " " " " "
Ismailism 1% 1.2% 0% " " " " "
Hinduism 0% 0.1% 0% " " " " "
Buddhism 0% 0.1% 0% " " " " "
Sikhism 0% 0.1% 0% " " " " "


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "31,108,077 (July 2013 est.)". Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  2. ^ a b "Life expectancy in Afghanistan rises past 60 years". Pajhwok Afghan News. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/01/24/afghanistan-fertility-rate-declines/1824009/
  4. ^ a b c "Article Sixteen of the Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Retrieved July 25, 2012. "From among the languages of Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, Pamiri (alsana), Arab and other languages spoken in the country, Pashto and Dari are the official languages of the state." 
  5. ^ a b c d Mohammad Jawad Sharifzada, ed. (November 20, 2011). "Afghanistan's population reaches 26m". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Ethnic groups: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%". CIA. The World Factbook. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  7. ^ a b "Languages of Afghanistan". CIA. The World Factbook. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  8. ^ a b c "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. October 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  9. ^ a b c Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population (PDF). Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Country Profile: Afghanistan". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. Library of Congress. August 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  11. ^ a b c "Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%". CIA. The World Factbook. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  12. ^ Afghanistan: The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation, By J. Bruce Amstutz - Page 239
  13. ^ Afghanistan: The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation, By J. Bruce Amstutz - Page 224 & 225
  14. ^ "Chapter 2. The Society and Its Environment" (pdf). Afghanistan Country Study. Illinois Institute of Technology. pp. 105–06. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  15. ^ "Population". U.S. Library of Congress. 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  16. ^ "Afghanistan (1979–2001)". Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  17. ^ "Afghanistan – Population Reference Bureau". Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  18. ^ "Table 2-2: Settled Population by Province-2010-2011" (PDF). Central Statistics Office. 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
  20. ^ http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR248/FR248.pdf
  21. ^ a b c d "Afghanistan". World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved 2013-07-06. "Life expectancy at birth m/f (years) 59/61" 
  22. ^ Children at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in Afghanistan. December 1, 2008.
  23. ^ "Over 1,300 HIV cases registered in Afghanistan". Pajhwok Afghan News. December 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  24. ^ "AIDS patients have doubled in Kandahar: Official". Pajhwok Afghan News. December 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  25. ^ a b "50pc surge in HIV cases, says Dalil". Pajhwok Afghan News. December 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  26. ^ http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2013/04/30/afghan-population-set-reach-275m-year
  27. ^ Ghulam Hussain Zakiri, ed. (February 24, 2013). "14m Afghans to get computerised ID cards in a year". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  28. ^ Abasin Zaheer, ed. (May 26, 2013). "Senators stress caution in ID cards issuance". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  29. ^ a b "The World Factbok – Afghanistan". The World Factbook/Central Intelligence Agency. University of Missouri. October 15, 1991. Retrieved 2011-03-20. "_#_Ethnic divisions: Pashtun 50%, Tajik 25%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 12-15%; minor ethnic groups include Chahar Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and other" 
  30. ^ "Ethnic Groups". Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  31. ^ "PEOPLE – Ethnic divisions:". The World Factbook/Central Intelligence Agency. University of Missouri. January 22, 1993. Retrieved 2011-03-20. "Pashtun 38%, Tajik 25%, Uzbek 6%, Hazara 19%; minor ethnic groups include Chahar Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and others" 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q See:
    • "Afghanistan in 2011 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. p. 251. Retrieved 2012-11-13. "15. Appendix 3: Interview Questionnaire... D-10. Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 41%, Tajik 32%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 11%, Turkmen 2%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 1%, Arab 1%, Sadat 1%" 
    • "Afghanistan in 2010 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2010. pp. 225–226. Retrieved 2011-03-20. "D-9. Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 42%, Tajik 31%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 10%, Turkmen 2%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 2%, Arab 2%" 
    • "Afghanistan in 2007 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2010. pp. 225–226. Retrieved 2011-03-20. "The 2007 survey interviewed 6,406 Afghans, Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 40%, Tajik 35%, Uzbek 8%, Hazara 10%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 1%, Arab 1%" 
    • "Afghanistan in 2006 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. pp. 83–88. Retrieved 2012-11-28. "A total of 6,226 respondents were surveyed in the study, out of which 4888 (78.5%) were from the rural areas and 1338 (22%) were from the urban areas. Ethnicity: Pashtun 40.9, Tajik 37.1, Uzbek 9.2, Hazara 9.2, Turkmen 1.7, Baloch 0.5, Nuristani 0.4, Aimak 0.1, Arab 0.7, Pashayi 0.3" 
    • "Afghanistan in 2004 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2004. Retrieved 2012-11-28. "The 2004 survey interviewed 804 Afghans, Which ethnic group do you belong to? Pashtun 46%, Tajik 39%, Uzbek 6%, Hazara 6%, Turkmen 1%, Baloch 0%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 0%, Arab 1%, Pashaye 0%, Other 1%." 
  33. ^ a b c "ABC NEWS/BBC/ARD poll - Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: ABC News. pp. 38–40. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  34. ^ a b "AFGHANISTAN v. Languages". Ch. M. Kieffer. Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2010-10-10. "A. Official languages. Paṧtō (1) is the native tongue of 35 to 40 percent of Afghans... Persian (2) is the language most spoken in Afghanistan. The native tongue of 50 percent of the population, it is split into numerous dialects." 
  35. ^ "Languages of Afghanistan". SIL International. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]