Demographics of Nepal
Nepalese also referred to as Nepalis or Nepali people (Nepali: नेपाली गण) are the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan citizens of Nepal under the provisions of Nepali nationality law. The country is home to people of many different national origins. As a result, people of Nepal do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance. Although citizens make up the majority of Nepalese, non-citizen residents, dual citizen, and expatriates may also claim a Nepalese identity. Nepalese are descendants of migrants from parts of India, Kashmir, Tibet, and parts of Burma and Yunnan, and much further traces origin to Central Asia, along with indigenous peoples. Nepal is a multicultural and multiethnic country. 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.
- 1 Demographic history
- 2 Population growth
- 3 Vital statistics
- 4 Demographic statistics
- 5 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey
- 6 Languages
- 7 Religion
- 8 Ethnic and regional equity
- 9 Nepalese in the U.K.
- 10 Nepalese in Hong Kong
- 11 Nepalese overseas
- 12 Foreign population in Nepal
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The population of Nepalese is estimated to be 26,494,504 people based on the 2011 Nepal census, with a population growth rate of 1.35% 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.
The population of Nepal has been steadily rising recent decades. The current population is roughly 28 million which contributes to an increase of about 3 million people every 5 years.
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|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|
Births and deaths 
|Year||Population (x1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural increase||Crude birth rate||Crude death rate||Rate of natural increase||TFR|
|2011||326 725||129 978||196 747||11.4||4.5||6.9|
Structure of the population (22.06.2011) (Census) :
|Total||12 849 041||13 645 463||26 494 504||100|
|0-4||1 314 957||1 253 006||2 567 963||9,69|
|5-9||1 635 176||1 569 683||3 204 859||12,10|
|10-14||1 764 630||1 710 794||3 475 424||13,12|
|15-19||1 443 191||1 488 789||2 931 980||11,07|
|20-24||1 043 981||1 314 090||2 358 071||8,90|
|25-29||917 243||1 162 111||2 079 354||7,85|
|30-34||770 577||964 728||1 735 305||6,55|
|35-39||740 200||864 119||1 604 319||6,06|
|40-44||660 290||725 831||1 386 121||5,23|
|45-49||575 101||597 858||1 172 959||4,43|
|50-54||505 864||499 612||1 005 476||3,80|
|55-59||412 892||405 371||818 263||3,09|
|60-64||368 451||388 376||756 827||2,86|
|65-69||277 782||276 667||554 449||2,09|
|70-74||199 610||195 543||395 153||1,49|
|75-79||117 358||117 777||235 135||0,89|
|80-84||62 787||65 990||128 777||0,49|
|85-89||25 810||26 716||52 526||0,20|
|90-94||8 940||11 395||20 335||0,08|
|95+||4 201||7 007||11 208||0,04|
|0-14||4 714 763||4 533 483||9 248 246||34,91|
|15-64||7 437 790||8 410 885||15 848 675||59,82|
|65+||696 488||701 095||1 397 583||5,27|
|Most Populous Caste/Ethnic groups (Census 2011)||Population||% of total|
|Newar (taken as a single communal group)||1,321,933||5.0%|
|Muslim (taken as a single religious group)||1,164,255||4.4%|
|Yadav (Part of Madhesi race. )||1,054,458||4.0%|
|Other (more than 100 caste/ethnic groups)||4,229,290||15.96%|
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: 70.6 years
- Male: 69.3 years
- Female: 72.5 years (2015 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 (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. Nepal Bhasa, the mother-tongue of the Newars, is widely used and spoken in and around Kathmandu Valley and in major Newar trade towns across Nepal.
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 19 May 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 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 Madhesh 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 Tharuhat and Madhesh 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||550,000|
|Malaysia||Nepalese people in Malaysia||617,587|
|Qatar||Nepalis in Qatar||400,000|
|United Arab Emirates||Nepalese in the United Arab Emirates||400,000|
|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||~1,216,709|
Foreign population in Nepal
As per census of 2001 there are 116,571 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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