Demographics of Bhutan


Demographics of Bhutan

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Bhutan, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Bhutanese people in national dress at the Wangdi Phodrang festival

Contents

Bhutan's bimodal population estimates

The Royal Government of Bhutan lists their country's population as 752,700 (2003).[1] The CIA Factbook in 2003 estimated the population at 2,327,849.[2]

One explanation for this discrepancy given inside Bhutan is that the higher CIA numbers ultimately trace back to an inflated population number the Bhutanese government supplied to the United Nations in the early 1970s in order to gain entry into that body (the UN reportedly had a cutoff population of one million at that time). According to this theory the CIA population experts have retained this original inflated number year after year while adjusting it each year for normal population growth.

An alternative theory is that the western and central districts of the country wish to underestimate the populations of the southern and eastern districts in order to maintain their historical dominance over those districts. This is the claim made by some Bhutanese refugee groups. Certainly the government numbers do not include people in the refugee camps in Nepal and other persons forced out of Bhutan, which total approximately 125,000.

The Bhutanese numbers can be reconstructed from their 9th Five Year Plan documents,[3] which lists the exact number of households in each gewog. If the Bhutanese refugee advocate groups are correct, a spot check of a southern gewog should show a massive under-reporting of population (although this would have to be done by a non-interested party to have credibility).

The CIA World Fact book number has since been adjusted with a note of former inconstancies, and explains the difference on the old numbers from the government not including the "first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005".[4] It should also be noted in the 1970s Bhutan was one of the most isolated countries in the world and nobody knew how many people lived there since no census had ever been taken.

Demographic statistics

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

Nationality

Noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Bhutanese

Ethnic groups

Ngalop (Northern Bhutanese) 50%, Lhotshampa (ethnic Nepalese) 35%, indigenous or migrant tribes 15%[2]

Religions

Approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of the population practice Drukpa Kagyupa or Ningmapa Buddhism, both of which are disciplines of Mahayana Buddhism. Approximately one-quarter of the population is ethnic Nepalese and practice Hinduism. They live mainly in the south and follow the Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Shakta, Ghanapathi, Puranic, and Vedic schools. Christians both Roman Catholic and Protestant and nonreligious groups comprised less than 1 percent of the population. Bön, the country's animist and shamanistic belief system, revolves around the worship of nature and predates Buddhism. Very few citizens adhere exclusively to this religious group.

Languages

Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects. Ethnologue lists 25 languages for Bhutan. Up to 109,000 immigrants speak Assamese.[5]

Literacy

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 47%
Male: 60%
Female: 34% (2003 est.)

Population

708,427 (July 2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.9% (male 104,622/female 100,383)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 245,054/female 217,864)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 21,347/female 19,157) (2011 est.)

Median age

Total: 24.8 years
Male: 25.4 years
Female: 24.2 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

1.201% (2011 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.12 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 67.3 years
Male: 66.46 years
Female: 68.19 years (2011 est.)

Vital statistics

Below is a table of Bhutan vital statistics since 1950 published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.[6]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR[note 1] CDR[note 1] NC[note 1] TFR[note 1] IMR[note 1]
1950-1955 9,000 5,000 4,000 47.9 27.1 20.8 6.67 184.8
1955-1960 10,000 6,000 5,000 49.0 26.8 22.3 6.67 181.4
1960-1965 12,000 6,000 6,000 48.5 25.7 22.8 6.67 174.1
1965-1970 13,000 7,000 7,000 47.8 24.1 23.8 6.67 163.1
1970-1975 16,000 7,000 8,000 47.0 22.0 25.1 6.67 149.3
1975-1980 18,000 8,000 10,000 45.8 19.6 26.2 6.67 133.2
1980-1985 20,000 8,000 12,000 42.7 17.1 25.6 6.39 117.1
1985-1990 21,000 8,000 13,000 40.4 15.0 25.3 6.11 104.0
1990-1995 19,000 7,000 12,000 35.2 12.5 22.7 5.27 87.5
1995-2000 16,000 5,000 11,000 29.2 9.9 19.3 4.13 69.7
2000-2005 15,000 5,000 11,000 25.2 7.9 17.2 3.30 52.8
2005-2010 15,000 5,000 10,000 21.5 7.2 14.4 2.61 44.4
  1. ^ a b c d e CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)

HIV/AIDS

In 2011, there were 246 reported cases of HIV in Bhutan, representing just over 0.3% of the population.[7] In July 2010, there were a total of 217 cases detected, however Health Ministry sources indicated actual numbers were estimated at more than 500 by UNAIDS.[8]

Through July 2010, there had been a total of 40 deaths due to HIV/AIDS-related causes, and one suicide.[8]:6

References

  1. ^ "Fact File". National Portal of Bhutan. http://www.bhutan.gov.bt/government/aboutbhutan.php. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b Bhutan entry at The World Factbook
  3. ^ http://www.dop.gov.bt/rep/index.htm
  4. ^ Bhutan entry at The World Factbook July 2009 est. - retrieved Apr 2009
  5. ^ a b c d Ethnologue Report on Bhutan. Accessed 2010-04-02.
  6. ^ "Bhutan: Demographic Profile, Medium Variant 1950–2100". World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Projections and Estimates Section. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/Panel_profiles.htm. Retrieved 2011-10-30.  (entry: Bhutan)
  7. ^ "The Ministry of Health has Detected…". Bhutan Observer online. 2011-08-01. http://www.bhutanobserver.bt/ministry-health-detected/. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  8. ^ a b "An Update on Human Immuno Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)" (PDF). Bhutan Ministry of Health. 2010-07-01. http://www.health.gov.bt/doph/cdd/update_HIV2010.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 

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