Demographics of Nepal
The population of Nepal is estimated to be 26,494,504 people based on the 2011 census, with a population growth rate of 1.596% and a median age of 21.6 years. Female median age is estimated to be 22.5 years, and male median age to be 20.7 years. Only 4.4% of the population is estimated to be more than 65 years old, comprising 681,252 females and 597,628 males. 61% of the population is between 15 and 64 years old, and 34.6% is younger than 14 years. Birth rate is estimated to be 22.17 births/1,000 population with an infant mortality rate of 44.54 deaths per 1000 live births. Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 67.44 years for females and 64.94 years for males. The mortality rate is estimated to be 681 deaths per 100,000 people. Net migration rate is estimated to be 61 migrants per 100,000 people. According to the 2011 census, 65.9% of the total population is literate.
- 1 Demographic history
- 2 Population growth
- 3 Vital statistics
- 4 Ethnic groups
- 5 Demographic statistics
- 6 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey
- 7 Languages
- 8 Religion
- 9 Ethnic and regional equity
- 10 Nepalese in the U.K.
- 11 Nepalese in Hong Kong
- 12 Nepalese overseas
- 13 Foreign population in Nepal
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Nepali or Nepalese or Gurkha or Gorkhali are descendants of migrants from parts of Kashmir, Greater Nepal, Tibet, and parts of Burma and Yunnan, and much further traces origin to Central Asia to Turkic people such as Kazakh (Mixed of Khas and Mongols), along with indigenous peoples.
Nepal is multicultural and multiethnic country because It became a country by occupying several small kingdoms in 18th century. The oldest settlements in northern Nepal are Kirants Mongoloid. The mountainous region is sparsely populated above 3,000 m (9,800 ft), but in central and western Nepal ethnic Sherpa and Lama people 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.
|Period||Live births per year||Deaths per year||Natural change per year||CBR1||CDR1||NC1||TFR1||IMR1|
|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|
Nepalese people have historically migrated from other countries ( mainly from Tibet or India), while few are from the Kathmandu Valley itself. The Northern Nepal and the North eastern region mainly consists of ethnic groups such as Gurung, Limbu, Rai, Sherpas, Tamangs and Thakalis whose ancestors comes from China, Mongolia or Tibet. The Central Nepal, mainly the Kathmandu valley, consists of Newars who are the original habitants of Nepal; the Southern Nepal or the Terai consists of people from mainly Indian ancestors in the neighbouring states of India (Bihar and Uttar Pradhesh) such as Tharus and Madhesis, while some groups of people such as Muslim origin people have also migrated to Terai from India and beyond.
|Most Populous Caste/Ethnic groups (Census 2011)||Population||% of total|
|Newars (taken as a single linguistic group)||1,321,933||5.0%|
|Muslim (taken as a single religious group)||1,164,255||4.4%|
|Other (more than 100 caste/ethnic groups)||4,229,290||15.9%|
Nepal Demographic and Health Survey
Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (Wanted Fertility Rate) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):
|Year||CBR (Total)||TFR (Total)||CBR (Urban)||TFR (Urban)||CBR (Rural)||TFR (Rural)|
|1996||37||4.64 (2,9)||27||2.85 (1,9)||38||4.83 (3,1)|
|2001||33.5||4.1 (2,5)||20.6||2.1 (1,4)||34.9||4.4 (2,6)|
|2006||28.4||3.1 (2,0)||21.9||2.1 (1,4)||29.5||3.3 (2,1)|
|2011||24.3||2.6 (1,8)||16.6||1.6 (1,2)||25.5||2.8 (1,8)|
The following demographic statistics are from the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
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.
CIA World Factbook
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
- noun: Nepali, Nepalese, Gorkhali (singular and plural)
- adjective: Nepali, Nepalese, Gorkhali
- Hindu 81.34%, Buddhist 9.04%, Muslim 4.38%, Kirant 3.04%, other 2.2% (2011 census).
- definition: age 15 and over can read and write
- total population: 48.6%
- male: 62.7%
- female: 34.9% (2001 census)
- 29,890,686 (July 2012 est.)
- 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.)
- total: 21.6 years
- male: 20.7 years
- female: 22.5 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate
- 1.768% (2012 est.)
- 21.85 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
- 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.)
- urban population: 19% of total population (2010)
- rate of urbanization: 4.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
- 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.)
Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from three major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman languages, 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 as of 2011 census. (percent spoken as mother tongue language) includes
- Nepali (80.6%), (National)
- Tharu (5.8%)
- Tamang (5.1%)
- Nepal Bhasa (3.2%)
- Magar (3.0%)
- Doteli (3.0%)
- Bantawa (0.5%)
- Sunuwar (0.2%)
All the dialects of Nepali are not mutually intelligible. Wide regional variations exist. The dialect of Far Western Region is more similar to Kumaon than Nepali.
Nepali (derived from Khas bhasa) is 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—are originated in Terai of Nepal and spoken in the southern Terai Region. 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 is important in Nepal; the Kathmandu Valley alone has more than 2,700 religious shrines. The dissolved constitution of Nepal described the country as a "Hindu kingdom", although it did 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 synthetic blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, or animist traditions), 4.2% of the population was Muslim, 3.6% of the population followed the indigenous Kirant Mundhum religion and Christianity was practiced by 0.45% of the population.
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
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.
Nepalese in the U.K.
Nepalese in Hong Kong
Nepali 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.
|Saudi Arabia||Nepalese in Saudi Arabia||250,000|
|Malaysia||Nepalese people in Malaysia||217,587|
|United States||Nepalese American||300,490|
|Qatar||Nepalis in Qatar||400,000|
|United Arab Emirates||Nepalese in the United Arab Emirates||150,000|
|United Kingdom||Nepalis in the United Kingdom||50,000|
|China||Nepalis in China||21,000|
|Hong Kong||Nepalis in Hong Kong||16,000|
|South Korea||Nepalis in South Korea||22,015|
|Singapore||Nepalese in Singapore||4000|
|Total Overseas Nepal Population||~15,643,000|
Foreign population in Nepal
As per census of 2001 there are 116,571,000 foreign born citizens in Nepal out of which 90% are Indian origin followed by Bhutan, Pakistan and China. This number does not include the refugees from Bhutan and Tibet.
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