Demographics of Nepal

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Nepalese and people of Nepal (Gorkhali)/Nepalese(Gorkha) origin
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Total population
35.14 million
Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 29,519,114
 India 4,100,000
 Burma 400,000
 Saudi Arabia 350,000
 Malaysia 300,000
 USA 110,616
 Japan 100,000
 Qatar 100,000
 UAE 50,000
 United Kingdom 50,000
 China 20,348
 Hong Kong 15,950
 Bhutan 11,000
 South Korea 10,000
 Australia 7,000
 Canada 3,780
 Pakistan 1,000[1]
Languages
Nepali language, English
Religion
Predominantly Hinduism and significantly Buddhism

The population of Nepal is estimated at 26,494,504 people in census of 2011, with a population growth rate of 1.596% and a median age of 21.6 years. Female median age is estimated at 22.5 years, and male median age at 20.7 years. Only 4.4% of the population are estimated to be more than 65 years old, comprising 681,252 females and 597,628 males, whereas 61.1% of the population is between 15 and 64 years old, and 34.6% is estimated at younger than 14 years. Birth rate is estimated at 22.17 births/1,000 population with an infant mortality rate at 44.54 deaths per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 67.44 years for females and 64.94 years for males. Death rate is estimated at 681 deaths per 100,000 people. Net migration rate is estimated at 61 migrants per 100,000 people. According to the 2001 census, only 48.6% of the total population is literate, of which 62.7% are male and 34.9% are female.[2]

Demographic history[edit]

Nepali or Nepalese or Gurkha are descendants of migrants from parts of Kashmir, earlier Greater Nepal, Tibet, India, and parts of Burma and Yunnan, along with native tribal populations.

Indo-Aryans and East Asian looking(Mongoloid) mixed people live in the hill region. The mountainous region is sparsely populated above 3,000 m (9,800 ft), but in central and western Nepal ethnic Tibetans inhabit even higher semi-arid valleys north of the Himalaya. Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5 percent of the nation's population. Nepali society is multilingual, multireligious and multiethnic.

Population growth[edit]

Nepalese woman with baby
Elderly woman from Ghyaru in northern Nepal
Old Nepali woman

A significantly high universal marriage rate, particularly among reformed Hindus drives Nepal's annual population growth rate in excess of two percent. The result of this is that the marriage rate has caused the population to double about every 30 years. This severely strains the country's underdeveloped economy and finite natural resources. Deforestation is exceedingly widespread. A large amount of marginal land is cleared for agriculture, trees are cut down for firewood and leaves are harvested for fodder. Deforestation causes erosion in the hills, in turn causing alluvial buildup down on the Gangetic Plain that interferes with flood control structures.

Population in the hills greatly exceeds agricultural productivity. Thus, chronic food deficits drive resettlement into the Inner Terai to the detriment of indigenous Tharu people and eastward into Sikkim and Bhutan, where traditional practices of delayed marriage and diversion of significant population into monasteries and nunneries otherwise checked population growth. Overpopulation also drives export of manpower to India, the Middle East, Europe, Australia and North America in search of employment, the so-called Nepalese Diaspora.

Most refugees live in seven camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Presence and activity of Tibetan refugees in Nepal also raise sporadic diplomatic conflicts with the People's Republic of China.

Vital statistics[edit]

UN estimates[edit]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1 CDR1 NC1 TFR1 IMR1
1950–1955 368 000 218 000 150 000 42.9 25.0
1955–1960 406 000 230 000 176 000 43.4 24.6 18.8 6.10 199.3
1960–1965 448 000 241 000 207 000 43.9 23.6 20.3 6.10 186.9
1965–1970 496 000 249 000 246 000 43.8 22.0 21.8 6.08 172.5
1970–1975 546 000 253 000 292 000 43.1 20.0 23.1 6.04 156.0
1975–1980 597 000 254 000 343 000 42.0 17.9 24.1 5.92 139.2
1980–1985 651 000 253 000 398 000 40.7 15.8 24.9 5.72 122.9
1985–1990 707 000 249 000 458 000 39.3 13.8 25.5 5.39 106.8
1990–1995 767 000 244 000 523 000 37.7 12.0 25.7 4.96 91.5
1995–2000 805 000 224 000 581 000 35.0 9.7 25.3 4.41 72.3
2000–2005 797 000 201 000 596 000 30.9 7.8 23.1 3.74 54.9
2005–2010 732 000 177 000 555 000 25.6 6.2 19.4 2.95 38.7
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

Source:[3]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Selected ethnic groups of Nepal;
     Bhotia,      Sherpa,      Thakali,      Gurung,      Kiranti Sunuwar,      Rai,      Limbu,      Newari,      Pahari,      Tamang
Elderly Limbu, Chong woman

Nepal's 2001 census enumerated 102 castes and ethnic groups.[4]

There are three main ethnicities: Khas, Mongoloid and mixed. Khas : Bahun, Chhetri, Damai, Kami etc. Mongoloid consists of Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, Thakali and Kirat (e.g., Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar) and mixed solely consists of Newar people. Khas origin represents 40% of the population, Mongoloids and mix represents 50%, who consists of mainly Newar castes and these days any caste marries to each other and forming the third group known as Mixed People of both Khas and Mongoloid Origin. The rest 10% includes immigrants such as Indians, Tibetans,etc.

Caste/ethnic group Population  % of total
Khas - Chhetri (Kshatriya) 3,593,496 15.8
Khas - Brahman 2,896,477 12.7
Magar 1,622,421 7.1
Tharu 1,533,879 6.7
Tamang 1,282,304 5.6
Newar 1,245,232 5.5
Muslim 971,056 4.3
Khas - Kami 895,954 3.9
Rai 635,151 2.79
Gurung 686,000 2.39
Khas - Damai/Dholi 390,305 1.72
Limbu 359,379 1.58
Khas - Thakuri 334,120 1.47
Khas - Sarki 318,989 1.40
Teli 304,536 1.34
Chamar, Harijan, Ram 269,661 1.19
Koiri 251,274 1.11
Kurmi 212,842 0.94
Khas - Sanyasi 199,127 0.88
Dhanuk 188,150 0.83
Musahar 172,434 0.76
Dusad/Paswan/Pasi 158,525 0.70
Sherpa 154,622 0.68
Sunar 145,088 0.64
Kewat 136,953 0.60
Terai Brahmin 134,496 0.59
Baniya 126,971 0.56
Gharti/Bhujel[5][6] 117,568 0.52
Mallah 115,986 0.51
Khas - Kalwar 115,606 0.51
Kumal 99,389 0.44
Hajam/Thakur 98,169 0.43
Kanu 95,826 0.42
Rajbansi 95,812 0.42
Sunuwar (Mukhiya) 95,254 0.42
Sudhi 89,846 0.40
Lohar 82,637 0.36
Tatma 76,512 0.34
Khatwe[7][8] 74,972 0.33
Madheshi Dhobi 73,413 0.32
Majhi[9][10] 72,614 0.32
Nuniya[11] 66,873 0.29
Kumhar 54,413 0.24
Danuwar 53,229 0.23
Chepang 52,237 0.23
Haluwai 50,583 0.22
Rajput 48,454 0.21
Kayastha 46,071 0.20
Badhai 45,975 0.20
Marwadi 43,971 0.19
Santhal/Satar 42,698 0.19
Dhagar/Jhagar[12] 41,764 0.18
Bantar[13] 35,839 0.16
Barai 35,434 0.16
Kahar 34,531 0.15
Gangai[14] 31,318 0.14
Lodha 24,738 0.11
Rajbhar 24,263 0.11
Thami 22,999 0.10
Dhimal 19,537 0.09
Bhote 19,261 0.08
Binga/Binda 18,720 0.08
Bhediyar Gaderi 17,729 0.08
Nurang 17,522 0.08
Yakkha 17,003 0.07
Darai[15][16] 14,859 0.07
Tajpuriya[17] 13,250 0.06
Thakali 12,973 0.06
Chidimar 12,296 0.05
Non-Khas Pahari peoples 11,505 0.05
Khas - Mali 11,390 0.05
Bangali 9,860 0.04
Chhantyal 9,814 0.04
Dom 8,931 0.04
Kamar 8,761 0.04
Bote[18][19] 7,969 0.04
Brahmu/Baramu[20][21] 7,383 0.03
Khas - Gaine/Gandarbha 5,887 0.03
Jirel 5,316 0.02
Adivasi/Janajati 5,259 0.02
Dura 5,169 0.02
Churaute[22][23] 4,893 0.02
Badi 4,442 0.02
Meche[24][25] 3,763 0.02
Lepcha 3,660 0.02
Halkhor 3,621 0.02
Punjabi/Sikh 3,054 0.01
Kisan 2,876 0.01
Raji 2,399 0.01
Byangsi[26][27] 2,103 0.01
Hayu 1,821 0.01
Koche 1,429 0.01
Dhunia 1,231 0.01
Walung 1,148 0.01
Jain 1,015 0.00
Munda 660 0.00
Raute 658 0.00
Hyolmo[28][29] 579 0.00
Madheshi Pattharkatta/Kuswariya[30][31] 552 0.00
Kusunda 164 0.00
Unspecified Khas Dalit 173,401 0.76
Caste/Ethnicity not stated 231,641 1.02
Total 22,736,934 100.00

Demographic statistics[edit]

Nepal Demographic and Health Survey[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).[32]

Median birth intervals (Median number of months since preceding birth)

Total: 36.2
Rural: 35.9
Urban: 40.3 (2011)

Median age at first birth

Median age: 20.1 (2011)

Fertility rate - past trend and present

Total fertility rate: 4.6 children born/woman (1996)
Total fertility rate: 4.1 children born/woman (2001)
Total fertility rate: 3.1 children born/woman (2006)
Total fertiltiy rate: 2.6 children born/woman
Rural fertility rate: 2.8 children born/woman
Urban fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (2011)

Ideal family size - Mean ideal number of children

Overall (female/male): 2.1 / 2.3
Currently married (female/male): 2.2 / 2.3
Urban (female/male): 1.9 / 2.0
Rural (female/male): 2.2 / 2.3 (2011)

Ideal family size by gender and age group

Below is a table of the ideal family size by gender and age for 2011.
Age Women Men
15-19 1.9 2.2
20-24 1.9 2.1
25-29 2.1 2.1
30-34 2.2 2.3
35-39 2.3 2.4
40-44 2.5 2.4
45-49 2.6 2.6

CIA World Factbook[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Nationality

noun: Nepali, Nepalese, Gorkhali (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepali, Nepalese, Gorkhali

Religions

Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census). Many peoples in Nepal follows both Hinduism and Buddhism together and often called as Buddhinduism.

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)

Population

29,890,686 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 34.6% (male 5,177,264/female 4,983,864)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 8,607,338/female 9,344,537)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 597,628/female 681,252) (2011 est.)

Median age

total: 21.6 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 22.5 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

1.768% (2012 est.)

Birth rate

21.85 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate

6.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate

2.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.41 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 19% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 66.51 years
male: 65.26 years
female: 67.82 years (2012 est.)

Languages[edit]

Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian, and various indigenous language isolates. According to the 2001 national census, 92 different living languages are spoken in Nepal (a 93rd category was "unidentified"). The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (43%), Maithili (12%), Tharu (5%), Tamang (4%), Gurung (1.5%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3%), Magar (1%), Awadhi (1%), Rai (1%), Limbu (1%) and Bajjika (1%).[citation needed] The remaining 81 languages are each spoken as mother tongue by less than one percent of the population. All the dialects of Nepali are not mutually intelligible. Standard Nepali is spoken by all as the literacy rate is just around 14% comparing to that of 50% before decades. Wide regional variations exist. The dialect of Far Western Region is more similar to Kumaon than Nepali.

Nepali (derived from Khas bhasa) and Maithili are considered to be a member of Indo-European language and is written in Devanagari script. Nepali was the language of the house of Gorkhas in the late 18th century and became the official, national language that serves as the lingua franca among Nepalese of different ethnolinguistic groups. Maithili—along with regional dialects Awadhi and Bhojpuri—is spoken in the southern Terai Region. Hindi and Urdu are widely understood in urban and areas throughout the nation. Many Nepali in government and business uses English as an official language.. English is the language of technical, medical and scientific community as well as the elite bankers, traders and entrepreneurs. There has been a surge in the number and percentage of people who understand English. Majority of the urban and a significant number of the rural schools are English-medium schools. Higher education in technical, medical, scientific and engineering fields are entirely in English.

Other languages, particularly in the Inner Terai, hill and mountain regions are remnants of the country's pre-unification history of dozens of political entities isolated by mountains and gorges. These languages typically are limited to an area spanning about one day's walk. Beyond that distance dialects and languages lose mutual intelligibility.

Religion[edit]

As of the 2011 census, 81.3 of the Nepalese population is Hindu, 9.0% is Buddhist, 4.4% is Muslim, 3.0% is Kirant/Yumaist, 1.4% is Christian, and 0.9% follow other religions or no religion.[33]

Religion is important in Nepal; the Kathmandu Valley alone has more than 2,700 religious shrines. The constitution of Nepal describes the country as a "Hindu kingdom", although it does not establish Hinduism as the state religion. Nepal's constitution continues long-standing legal provisions prohibiting discrimination against other religions (but also proselytization). The king was deified as the earthly manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Then on May 19, 2006, the government facing a constitutional crisis, the House of Representatives which had been just reformed, having been previously dissolved, declared Nepal a "secular state".

The 2001 census identified 80.6% of the population as Hindu and 10.7% as Buddhist (although many people labeled Hindu or Buddhist often practice a syncretic blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, or animist traditions). 4.2% of the population is Muslim and 3.6% of the population follows the indigenous Kirant Mundhum religion. Christianity is practiced by less than 0.5% of the population.[34]

Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by most Nepalese. Certain animist practices of old indigenous religions survive.

Ethnic and regional equity[edit]

Pahari Hill Hindus of the Khas Gorkha tribe (Bahun and Chhetri castes) and the Newar ethnicity dominated the civil service, the judiciary and upper ranks of the army throughout the Shah regime (1768–2008). Nepali was the national language and Sanskrit became a required school subject. Children who spoke Nepali natively and who were exposed to Sanskrit had much better chances of passing the national examinations at the end of high school, which meant they had better employment prospects and could continue into higher education. Children who natively spoke local languages of the Terai and Hills, or Tibetan dialects prevailing in the high mountains were at a considerable disadvantage. This history of exclusion coupled with poor prospects for improvement created grievances that encouraged many in ethnic communities such as Madhesi and Tharu in the Terai and Kham Magar in the mid-western hills to support the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and various other armed Maoist opposition groups such as the JTMM during and after the Nepalese Civil War. The negotiated end to this war forced King Gyanendra to abdicate in 2008. Issues of ethnic and regional equity have tended to dominate the agenda of the new republican government and continue to be divisive.[35][36][37][38][39]

Nepalese in the U.K.[edit]

According to latest figure from Office for National Statistics estimates that 35,000 Nepal born people are currently resident in the UK .[40]

Nepalese in Hong Kong[edit]

Nepalese people in Hong Kong are mainly the children of ex-Gurkhas born in Hong Kong during their parents' service with the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas, which was based in Hong Kong from the 1970s until the handover. Large groups can be found in Shek Kong, Yuen Long District, of the main bases of the British army. Many ex-Gurkhas remained in Hong Kong after the end of their service under the sponsorship of their Hong Kong-born children, who held right of abode.

Nepalese of middle age or older generations in Hong Kong are predominantly found in security, while those of younger generations are predominantly found in the business industry.

Nepalese overseas[edit]

Nepalese migrants abroad have suffered tremendous hardships, including some 7,500 deaths in the Middle East and Malaysia alone since the year 2000, some 3,500 in Saudi Arabia.[41]

Overseas Nepalese Population
Country Articles Population
India Nepalese Indian 4,100,000
Burma Burmese Gurkha 400,000
Saudi Arabia Nepalese in Saudi Arabia 350,000
Malaysia Nepalese people in Malaysia 300,000
United States Nepalese American 110,616
Bhutan Lhotshampa 110,000
Qatar Nepalese in Qatar 100,000
Japan Nepalese in Japan 100,000
United Arab Emirates Nepalese in the United Arab Emirates 50,000
United Kingdom[40] Nepalese in the United Kingdom 35,000
Iraq[42] 30,000
China Nepalese in China 21,000
Continental Europe 20,000
Hong Kong Nepalese in Hong Kong 16,000
Australia Nepalese Australian 10,000
South Korea Nepalese in South Korea 100,000
Canada Nepalese Canadian 6,000
Total Overseas Nepal Population ~5,643,000

References[edit]

  1. ^ International Nepal Fellowship - Nepali diaspora
  2. ^ CIA (2011) The World Factbook : Nepal.
  3. ^ World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
  4. ^ Government of Nepal. Central Bureau of Statistics. Statistical Year Book of Nepal, 2009. Kathmandu. 
  5. ^ "Nationalities of Nepal, #36: Bhujels/Ghartis". Friedrich-Ebert-Stifting (FES). Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  6. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (2009). "Bhujel, a language of Nepal". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Dallas: SIL International. Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  7. ^ Anon. (April 2006), Social Inclusion: What really achieved?, Kishore, Nepal: Centre for Professional Journalism Studies, Nepal 
  8. ^ Jha, Shrawan Kumar (1997), "The Khatbe of North Bihar, an Anthropological Perspective", Scheduled Castes Today (Makhan Jha, ed.), New Delhi: M D Publications, pp. 161 ff. 
  9. ^ "#40: Majhis". FES, op. cit. 
  10. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Majhi, a language of Nepal". 
  11. ^ "Call to uplift ethnic Nunia community". The Rising Nepal (Kathmandu: Gorkhapatra). June 13. Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ "#12: Jhangads". FES, op. cit. 
  13. ^ "Bantar Community in Nepal". BlogSpot: Mahesh Paudyal Prarambha. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  14. ^ "#5: Gangais". FES, op. cit. 
  15. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Darai, a language of Nepal". 
  16. ^ "#24: Darais". FES, op. cit. 
  17. ^ "#16: Tajpurias". FES, op. cit. 
  18. ^ "#34: Botes". FES, op. cit. 
  19. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Bote-Majhi, a language of Nepal". 
  20. ^ "#32: Baramos". FES, op. cit. 
  21. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Baraamu, a language of Nepal". 
  22. ^ Sharma, Sudhindra. "How the crescent fares in Nepal". Himal, May 1995. Retrieved April 7, 2011. 
  23. ^ Siddique, Muhammad (2001). "Muslim Population in the Kingdom of Nepal: Some Outstanding Features". Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 21 (2). Retrieved April 7, 2011. 
  24. ^ "#43: Meches". FES, op. cit. 
  25. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Bodo, a language of India". 
  26. ^ "#35: Byasis". FES, op. cit. 
  27. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Byangsi, a language of India". 
  28. ^ "#61: Hyolmos". FES, op. cit. 
  29. ^ Lewis, op. cit. "Helabu Sherpa, a language of Nepal". 
  30. ^ "#3: Kushbadias". FES, op. cit. 
  31. ^ National Coalition Against Racism. "Janajati: Kushbadia". Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2011." (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  33. ^ 2011 Nepal Census Report
  34. ^ http://www.cbs.gov.np/Nepal%20in%20figure/nepal%20in%20figures%202006.pdf
  35. ^ OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview (PDF). Issue 12. OCHA. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  36. ^ OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview (PDF). Issue 16. OCHA. July–August 2007. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  37. ^ OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview (PDF). Issue 30. OCHA. June–July 2008. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  38. ^ Sharma, Hari (2010-11-18). "Body of murder victim found in Gulmi". Gulmi: The Himalayan Times online. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  39. ^ Hatlebakk, Magnus (2007). "Economic and social structures that may explain the recent conflicts in the Terai of Nepal" (PDF). Kathmandu: Norwegian Embassy. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  40. ^ a b "Population by Country of birth and nationality Jan10-Dec10". Office for National Statistics. September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  41. ^ http://www.ekantipur.com/2014/01/07/top-story/natural-deaths-raise-doubts/383506.html
  42. ^ Nepal government lifts Iraq working ban

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2003 edition".

External links[edit]