Current status of Nepal's Population [Updated]


Current status of Nepal's Population

Nepal is a diverse country in South Asia, bordered by India and China. It has a rich cultural heritage and a population of 2,91,64,578 people. In this article, we will explore the latest data and trends on Nepal's population, including its size, growth rate, age structure, and distribution.

Population Size and Growth Rate:
According to the latest estimates from the World Bank, Nepal's population was around 29.7 million in 2021, up from 28.1 million in 2016. This represents an average annual growth rate of 0.93% over the past ten years, lower than the global average of 1.2%. The population is projected to reach 34.4 million by 2050, with a slower growth rate of 0.7%.

Age Structure and Dependency Ratio: Nepal has a relatively young population, with a median age of 24. According to the latest data from the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, about 42% of the population is under 20, while only 5% is over 65. The dependency ratio, which measures the ratio of dependents (children and elderly) to working-age adults, was 66.2 in 2020, down from 70.8 in 2015. This suggests a gradual shift towards a more economically productive population.

Population Distribution and Urbanization: Nepal has a diverse population with over 125 ethnic groups and multiple languages spoken. The latest census data from 2021 shows that most of the population lives in rural areas, with only 17% residing in urban areas. However, urbanization has been increasing in recent years, driven by migration from rural areas and the growth of cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. The urban population is expected to reach 30% by 2030, presenting opportunities and challenges for urban development and infrastructure.

Population Density and Migration: Nepal has a population density of about 203 people per square kilometer, with significant regional variations. The Terai region in the south has the highest population density, while the Himalayan region in the north is sparsely populated. Migration is also important in population dynamics, with internal and international migration playing significant roles in shaping population trends. According to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, the net migration rate was -1.4 per 1,000 population in 2020, indicating a small net outflow of people.

Population Composition of Nepal
  1. Age Composition: According to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), as of 2021, 56.6% of Nepal's population falls in the age group of 15-59 years, while the second-highest percentage, 19.7%, falls in the age group of 5-14 years. Around 14% of the total population comprises infants (0-4 years), and the population above 60 years constitutes 9.7%.
  2. Religious Composition: Based on religion, the majority of the Nepalese population is Hindu, accounting for 81.3% of the total population. Buddhism is the second-largest religion in Nepal, with 9% of the population following it. Islam comprises 4.4% of the population, while other religions and beliefs comprise the remaining 5.3%.
  3. Mother Tongue Composition: Based on mother tongue, Nepali language speakers constitute the highest percentage, with 44.6% of the total population. Maithili is the second most spoken language, with 11.7% of the population, followed by Bhojpuri at 6% and Newari at 3.2%. Other languages and dialects make up the remaining 34.5% of the population.
  4. Ethnicity/Caste Composition: Nepal has 125 ethnic groups, among which Chhetris constitute the highest percentage, accounting for 16.6% of the total population. Brahmins come in second at 12.2%, followed by Magars at 7.1%, Tharus at 6.6%, Tamangs at 5.8%, and Newars at 5%. The remaining 46.8% of the population belongs to other ethnic groups and castes.
Distribution of Population
  1. Ecological Distribution: As per the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), as of 2021, 6.89% of Nepal's population resides in the Mountain region, 43.07% in the Hilly region, and 50.04% in the Terai region.
  2. Rural and Urban Population Distribution: Nepal's rural population forms the majority, accounting for 83.1% of the total population. The urban population, on the other hand, constitutes only 16.9% of the total population. This indicates that most of Nepal's population still depends on agriculture and other traditional occupations.
3. Provincial Distribution: Based on provinces, the population of Nepal is distributed as follows:
  • Koshi Pradesh: 49 lakh 72 thousand 21 (17.03 percent)
  • Madhesh Pradesh: 61 lakh 26 thousand 2 hundred 88 (20.99 percent)
  • Bagmati Pradesh: 60 lakh 84 thousand 42 (20.84 percent)
  • Gandaki Pradesh: 24 lakh 79 thousand 745 (8.49 percent)
  • Lumbini Pradesh: 51,24,225 (17.55 percent)
  • Karnali Pradesh: 16 lakh 94 thousand 8 hundred 89 (5.81 percent)
  • Far Western Pradesh: 27 lakh 11 thousand 270 (9.29 percent)

Conclusion: Nepal's population is growing steadily but slower than the global average. The population is relatively young, gradually shifting towards a more economically productive age structure. Urbanization and migration are also important factors in population dynamics, presenting opportunities and challenges for Nepal's development. Further research and analysis are needed to fully understand the complexities of Nepal's population trends and to inform policy decisions that promote sustainable and inclusive development for all.

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