The population of Nepal is 29,192,480

Nepal’s population has reached 29,192,480, with an increase of 10.18 percent over the past 10 years, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

The total also includes the population of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura regions determined for the first time in 60 years through an informal census, according to the bureau.

According to the office, there are about 750 people in the area.

Unveiling preliminary data from the nationwide census taken from November 11 to 25 last year, the national data agency said Nepal’s population had grown by 0.93 percent a year on average, the lowest in 80 years. in the country’s history since it began counting the population in 1911—111 years ago.

The average population growth rate reported by the last census in 2011 was 1.35%.

The population of Nepal stood at 26,494,504 at the 2011 census.

Nepal’s annual population growth rate is now below the global average of 1.01% in 2020, according to World Bank statistics.

“The low population growth rate indicates that the birth rate in the country has been declining,” said Hem Raj Regmi, deputy director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics. “Emigration also appears to be another reason for the slowest growth rate in eight decades.”

Official data shows that the fertility rate of Nepalese women has been declining over the years.

According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016, the latest such survey, Nepal’s fertility rate was 2.3 per woman, down from 2.6 per woman in 2011. The fertility rate of Nepalese women is down since 1996, when the fertility rate per woman was as high as 4.6, according to the survey.

According to the new census, the average family size in 2021 was 4.32 members, down from 4.88 members earlier.

“Although the tendency to live in a single family is also increasing, the main factor explaining the small size of families is the low fertility rate,” said Rudra Suwal, former deputy director general of the office.

The population growth rate has been on a downward trend since 2011, but Nepal has experienced a decrease in overall population in two consecutive censuses in 1920 and 1930, the first two decades since Nepal officially started counting the population. population.

Suwal said the reason could be due to the participation of the Nepalese people in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Spanish flu pandemic which started in 1918.

Over the past six decades, the country has experienced population growth of more than 2% in the first four decades. Population growth had begun to decline significantly since the 2011 census, according to office records.

Although emigration has also been touted as the reason for low population growth over the past decade, Suwal said he believed it was not the main reason as there had been no significant increase in the emigrant population from 2011 to 2021.

According to the office, up to 2,169,478 Nepalese were living abroad most of the time according to the new census. Ten years ago, a total of 1,921,494 people lived mostly abroad.

According to the bureau, it counts seasonal migrant workers who travel to India to work as Nepal’s own population.

“The census also showed that the emigrant population from Nepal is not as large as believed,” Regmi said. “This census, however, did not cover migrant persons whose entire family remained abroad.”

Among the emigrant population, 81.28% of people are men. According to the latest census, although the number of Nepalese women abroad is much lower than the number of men, there was a 71.09% increase in the number of Nepalese women emigrated in 2021 compared to 2011.

According to the preliminary census report, the population of the Tarai region has increased while there has been a decrease in the population in the hills and mountainous region.

Geographically, more than half of the population lives in the Tarai.

According to the office, 53.66% of the population now lives in the Tarai region, compared to 50.27% 10 years ago. The data suggests that there has been a population decline in the hilly region with a slight population decline seen in the mountainous region. Geographically, Nepal has long been divided into hilly, mountainous and Tarai regions.

According to the bureau, 40.27% of the population lives in the hilly region, up from 43.01% in 2011, and 6.09% of the population lives in the mountainous region, up from 6.73% 10 years ago.

Officials and experts say accessibility and infrastructure are the main reasons for the increase in migration to the Tarai region.

“If this trend continues, there will be increasing pressure on infrastructure and facilities in the Tarai region,” Suwal said. “It can lead to uncontrolled development in the region like in Kathmandu without proper planning.”

According to officials and analysts, the growing imbalance between the population of the hilly and mountainous regions and that of the Tarai plains could lead to many other socio-economic problems.

Hari Roka, a political economist, said the massive migration from the hills to the Tarai could invite confrontation between the migrant population and the “original” residents of the region.

“We have already seen clashes between political groups representing the Madhesi people and the hill people in the Tarai, such as the confrontation between the Madhesi parties and the Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekta party representing the hill people,” he said. declared.

“The trend of migration to the Tarai will also lead to a loss of agricultural land in the region, known as the breadbasket of the country. This could have an impact on the country’s food security.

Along with the increase in population, the political representation of Tarai may increase in the future, which could lead to a decrease in the number of electoral districts in the hilly region and reduce political representation in legislative bodies, he said.

According to article 286 (12) of the constitution, the delimitation of electoral districts must be reviewed every 20 years.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission is responsible for the delimitation of electoral districts and the commission shall “determine electoral districts in the provinces in accordance with federal law, taking into account population as the primary basis and geography as the secondary basis of representation, and there shall be at least one electoral constituency in each district of the province”, in accordance with article 286 (5) of the constitution.

Experts point to the need for government programs to also retain the population in hilly areas.

According to the new census, the two provinces with the highest population growth are Madhes (by 722,143) and Lumbini (by 624,953) over the past 10 years.

Madhes province replaced Bagmati province, where the capital Kathmandu and major cities like Narayangadh and Hetauda fall, as the most populous province, according to the new census.

Madhes is now home to 20.99% of the country’s total population, closely followed by Bagmati with 20.84% ​​of the population. Gandaki has the lowest population, hosting 8.49% of the country’s total residents.

According to the preliminary census report, 66% of the country’s population lives in municipalities while the rest lives in rural municipalities.

“As many municipalities also host large parts of rural areas, this does not really reflect the gap between urban and rural populations,” said Suwal, the office’s former deputy chief executive.

Regmi, the current deputy director general, said the office has also divided the population according to the existing administrative structure.

The country has a total of 753 local governments. There are six metropolitan cities, 11 sub-metropolitan cities, 276 municipalities and 460 rural municipalities across the country.

According to the census, Kathmandu district has the highest population of 20,17,532 while Manang has the lowest population at 5,645.

“In the three districts of the valley – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, there is a population of over three million,” Regmi said. “It’s not as important as we think of the people of the Kathmandu Valley.”

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