Bangladesh demographics

Year; Population; Percentage +/-

1971; 67.8; —

1980; 80.6; + 1.94%

1990; 105.3; + 2.71%

2000; 129.6; + 2.10%

2010; 148.7; + 1.38%

2012; 161.1; + 4.09%

Source: OECD/World Bank

Montage of some ethnic groups in Bangladesh. Clockwise from top left: Bengalis, Chakmas, Garos, Santhals

Estimates of the Bangladeshi population vary, but UN data suggests 162,951,560 million. The 2011 census estimated 142.3 million, much less than 2007–2010 estimates of Bangladesh’s population (150–170 million). Bangladesh is the world’s eighth-most-populous nation. In 1951, its population was 44 million. Bangladesh is the most densely-populated large country in the world, ranking 11th in population density when small countries and city-states are included.

The country’s population-growth rate was among the highest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s, when its population grew from 65 to 110 million. With the promotion of birth control in the 1980s, Bangladesh’s growth rate began to slow. Its total fertility rate is now 2.55, lower than India’s (2.58) and Pakistan’s (3.07). The population is relatively young, with 34 percent aged 15 or younger and five percent 65 or older. Life expectancy at birth was estimated at 70 years in 2012. According to the World Bank, as of 2016 14.8% of the country lives below the international poverty line on less than $1.90 per day.

Bengalis are 98 percent of the population. Of Bengalis, Muslims are the majority, followed by Hindus, Christians and Buddhists.

The Adivasi population includes the Chakma, Marma, Tanchangya, Tripuri, Kuki, Khiang, Khumi, Murang, Mru, Chak, Lushei, Bawm, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Khasi, Jaintia, Garo, Santal, Munda and Oraon tribes. The Chittagong Hill Tracts region experienced unrest and an insurgency from 1975 to 1997 in an autonomy movement by its indigenous people. Although a peace accord was signed in 1997, the region remains militarised.

Bangladesh is home to a significant Ismaili community. It hosts many Urdu-speaking immigrants, who migrated there after the partition of India. Stranded Pakistanis were given citizenship by the Supreme Court in 2008.

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh number at around 1 million, making Bangladesh one of the countries with the largest refugee populations in the world.

Dhaka

Urban centres

Dhaka is Bangladesh’s capital and largest city. There are 12 city corporations which hold mayoral elections: Dhaka South, Dhaka North, Chittagong, Comilla, Khulna, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur, Gazipur and Narayanganj. Mayors are elected for five-year terms. Altogether there are 506 urban centres in Bangladesh among which 43 cities have a population of more than 100000.

Languages

More than 98 percent of people in Bangladesh speak Bengali, sometimes called Bangla, as their native language.Dialects of Bengali are spoken in some parts of the country, which include non-standard dialects (sometimes viewed as separate languages) such as Chatgaiya, Sylheti and Rangpuri. Pakistani Biharis, stranded since 1971 and living in Bangladeshi camps, speak Urdu. Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, living in Bangladeshi camps since 1978, speak Rohingya. Several indigenous minority languages are also spoken.

Bengali is the official language. However, English is sometimes used secondarily for official purposes (especially in the legal system). Although laws were historically written in English, they were not translated into Bengali until 1987. Bangladesh’s constitution and laws now exist in English and Bengali. English is used as a second language by the middle and upper classes, and is widely used in higher education.

Religion

Montage of religions of Bangladesh. Clockwise from top left: Muslims praying in Baitul Mukarram; a Hindu monk in Dhakeshwari Temple; a Buddhist monk in Buddha Dhatu Jadi; a Bangladeshi Christian cardinal with other cardinals at the Vatican

Religions in Bangladesh in 2011

Religion Percent

Muslim. 90.4%

Hindu 8.5%

Buddhist. 0.6%

Christian. 0.4%

Islam is the largest and the official state religion of Bangladesh, followed by 90.4 percent of the population. The country is home to most Bengali Muslims, the second-largest ethnic group in the Muslim world. The vast majority of Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunni, followed by tiny minorities of Shia and Ahmadiya. About four percent are non-denominational Muslims. Bangladesh has the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world, and is the third-largest Muslim-majority country (after Indonesia and Pakistan). Sufism has a lengthy heritage in the region. The largest gathering of Muslims in Bangladesh is the Bishwa Ijtema, held annually by the Tablighi Jamaat. The Ijtema is the second-largest Muslim congregation in the world, after the Hajj.

Hinduism is followed by 8.5 percent of the population; most are Bengali Hindus, and some are members of ethnic minority groups. Bangladeshi Hindus are the country’s second-largest religious group and the third-largest Hindu community in the world, after those in India and Nepal. Hindus in Bangladesh are fairly evenly distributed, with concentrations in Gopalganj, Dinajpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Mymensingh, Khulna, Jessore, Chittagong and parts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Despite their dwindling numbers, Hindus are the second-largest religious community (after the Muslims) in Dhaka.

Buddhism is the third-largest religion, at 0.6 percent. Bangladeshi Buddhists are concentrated among ethnic groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (particularly the Chakma, Marma and Tanchangya peoples), and coastal Chittagong is home to a large number of Bengali Buddhists. Christianity is the fourth-largest religion, at 0.4 percent.

The Constitution of Bangladesh declares Islam the state religion, but bans religion-based politics. It proclaims equal recognition of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and people of all faiths. In 1972, Bangladesh was South Asia’s first constitutionally-secular country.

Education

Bangladesh has a low literacy rate, which was estimated at 66.5 percent for males and 63.1 percent for females in 2014. The country’s educational system is three-tiered and heavily subsidised, with the government operating many schools at the primary, secondary and higher-secondary levels and subsidising many private schools. In the tertiary-education sector, the Bangladeshi government funds over 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.

Literacy rates in Bangladesh districts

The education system is divided into five levels: primary (first to fifth grade), junior secondary (sixth to eighth grade), secondary (ninth and tenth grade), higher secondary (11th and 12th grade) and tertiary. Five years of secondary education end with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination; since 2009, the Primary Education Closing (PEC) examination has also been given. Students who pass the PEC examination proceed to four years of secondary or matriculation training, culminating in the SSC examination.

Students who pass the PEC examination proceed to three years of junior-secondary education, culminating in the Junior School Certificate (JSC) examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of secondary education, culminating in the SSC examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of higher-secondary education, culminating in the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examination.

Education is primarily in Bengali, but English is commonly taught and used. Many Muslim families send their children to part-time courses or full-time religious education in Bengali and Arabic in madrasas.

Bangladesh conforms with the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.

Universities in Bangladesh are of three general types: public (government-owned and subsidised), private (privately owned universities) and international (operated and funded by international organisations such). Bangladesh has 34 public, 64 private and two international universities; Bangladesh National University has the largest enrolment, and the University of Dhaka (established in 1921) is the oldest.University of Chittagong (established in 1966) is the largest University (Campus: Rural, 2,100 acres (8.5 km2)) . Islamic University of Technology, commonly known as IUT, is a subsidiary of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC, representing 57 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America). Asian University for Women in Chittagong is the preeminent South Asian liberal-arts university for women, representing 14 Asian countries; its faculty hails from notable academic institutions in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. BUET, CUET, KUET and RUET are Bangladesh’s four public engineering universities. BUTex and DUET are two specialised engineering universities; BUTex specialises in textile engineering, and DUET offers higher education to diploma engineers. The NITER is a specialised public-private partnership institute which provides higher education in textile engineering. Science and technology universities include SUST, PUST, JUST and NSTU. Bangladeshi universities are accredited by and affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC), created by Presidential Order 10 in 1973.

Medical education is provided by 29 government and private medical colleges. All medical colleges are affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Bangladesh’s 2015 literacy rate rose to 71 percent due to education modernisation and improved funding, with 16,087 schools and 2,363 colleges receiving Monthly Pay Order (MPO) facilities. According to education minister Nurul Islam Nahid, 27,558 madrasas and technical and vocational institutions were enlisted for the facility. 6,036 educational institutions were outside MPO coverage, and the government enlisted 1,624 private schools for MPO in 2010.

Health

A typical ambulance service in Bangladesh

Health and education levels remain relatively low, although they have improved as poverty levels have decreased. In rural areas, village doctors with little or no formal training constitute 62 percent of healthcare providers practising “modern medicine”; formally-trained providers make up four percent of the total health workforce. A Future Health Systems survey indicated significant deficiencies in the treatment practices of village doctors, with widespread harmful and inappropriate drug prescribing. Receiving health care from informal providers is encouraged.

A 2007 study of 1,000 households in rural Bangladesh found that direct payments to formal and informal healthcare providers and indirect costs (loss of earnings because of illness) associated with illness were deterrents to accessing healthcare from qualified providers. A community survey of 6,183 individuals in rural Bangladesh found a gender difference in treatment-seeking behaviour, with women less likely to seek treatment than to men. The use of skilled birth attendant (SBA) services, however, rose from 2005 to 2007 among women from all socioeconomic quintiles except the highest. A health watch, a pilot community-empowerment tool, was successfully developed and implemented in south-eastern Bangladesh to improve the uptake and monitoring of public-health services.

Bangladesh’s poor health conditions are attributed to the lack of healthcare provision by the government. According to a 2010 World Bank report, 2009 healthcare spending was 3.35 percent of the country’s GDP. The number of hospital beds is 3 per 10,000 population. Government spending on healthcare that year was 7.9 percent of the total budget; out-of-pocket expenditures totalled 96.5 percent.

Malnutrition has been a persistent problem in Bangladesh, with the World Bank ranking the country first in the number of malnourished children worldwide. Twenty-six percent of the population (two-thirds of children under the age of five) are undernourished, and 46 percent of children are moderately or severely underweight. Forty-three to 60 percent of children under five are smaller than normal; one in five preschool children are vitamin-A deficient, and one in two are anaemic. More than 45 percent of rural families and 76 percent of urban families were below the acceptable caloric-intake level.

COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA.ORG

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