Demographics of Bangladesh

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

Demographics of Bangladesh

Population pyramid in 2005
156,050,883 (July 2009 est.)
Growth rate:
1.292% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
24.68 births/1,000
population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
8 deaths/1,000
population (2009 est.)
Life expectancy:
60.25 years
57.57 years
63.03 years (2009 est.)
Fertility rate:
2.74 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
59.02 deaths/1,000 live births
Age structure:
0-14 years:
34.6% (male 24,957,997/female 23,533,894)
15-64 years:
61.4% (male 47,862,774/female 45,917,674)
4% (male 2,731,578/female 2,361,435) (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
At birth:
1.04 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Under 15:
1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years:
0.9 male(s)/female
0.94 male(s)/female
noun: Bengali(s) adjective: Bangladeshi
Major ethnic:
Minor ethnic:
Santhal, Chakma, Garo, Bihari, Oraon, Munda, Rohingya
Bengali, Tribal languages and English

Bangladesh is largely ethnically homogeneous. Indeed, its name derives from the Bengali ethno-linguistic group, which comprises 98% of the population. Bengalis, who also predominate in the West Bengal province of India, are one of the most populous ethnic groups in the world. Variations in Bengali culture and language do exist of course. There are many dialects of Bengali spoken throughout the region. The dialect spoken by those in Chittagong and Sylhet are particularly distinctive. In 2009 the population was estimated at 156 million. Religiously, about 90% of Bangladeshis are Muslims and the remainder are mostly Hindus.
Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world, excluding a handful of city-states and small countries such as Malta.
Most of the demographic statistics below are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.


  • 1 Population
    • 1.1 Collection of sources
  • 2 Genetics
  • 3 Age
  • 4 Population growth rate
  • 5 Urban and rural
  • 6 Gender ratio
  • 7 Health
    • 7.1 Infant mortality rate
    • 7.2 Life expectancy at birth
    • 7.3 HIV/AIDS
    • 7.4 Major infectious diseases
  • 8 Ethnic groups
  • 9 Religion
  • 10 Language
  • 11 Education
  • 12 See also
  • 13 References


The mid-2009 estimate for total population was 156,050,883 which ranks Bangladesh 7th in the world (CIA).

Collection of sources

Naturally there is some uncertainty about the population, especially in a developing country such as Bangladesh with high illiteracy and a large rural population. For instance, in 2005 there was not a consensus whether Bangladesh or Russia had a larger population. The UN's ESA ranked Russia 7th in the world and Bangladesh 8th. However, the CIA World Factbook ranked Bangladesh 7th and Russia 8th in the same year. The point is now moot as the population of Russia is in decline while that of Bangladesh is growing.
The following table lists various recent estimates of the population. The baseline for population studies on Bangladesh is the official census which is conducted every 10 years, the last being in 2001.

Population (millions)
National Census
National Census
UN Population Fund
UN Dept Economic and Social Affairs
US State Dept
Population Reference Bureau
CIA World FactBook
UN Population Fund
CIA World FactBook
World Bank
CIA World FactBook
World Population Reference


Bangladesh has the world's highest frequency of the M form of mitochondrial DNA. This genetic variant spans many continents, and is the single most common mtDNA haplogroup in Asia. In Bangladesh it represents about 83% of maternal lineages.


Age structure:
0–14 years: 32.9% (male 24,957,997/female 23,533,894)
15–64 years: 63.6% (male 47,862,774/female 45,917,674)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 2,731,578/female 2,361,435) (2006 est..)
Median age: 23.3 years
Male: 22.9 years
Female: 23.5 (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

Bangladesh had one of the highest rates of population growth in the world in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then however it has seen a marked reduction in its total fertility rate. Over a period of three decades it dropped from 6.2 to 3.2, according to UNDP figures from 2003.

Demographic evolution of the territory of Bangladesh (1900-2010).

Pop. growth rate:1.292% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
Birth rate:24.68 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
Death rate:8 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
Net migration rate:-2.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Total fertility rate:2.74 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82

Urban and rural

The sprawling mega-city of Dhaka has a huge population, but the majority of the people nonetheless still live in villages in rural areas.
Urban population: 27% of total population (2009 est.)
Rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-2010 est.)

Gender ratio

At birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2009 est.)


Infant mortality rate

Total: 59.02 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 39
Male: 66.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 51.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 60.25 years
country comparison to the world: 183
Male: 57.57 years
Female: 63.03 years (2009 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
county comparison to the world: 102
People living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2007 est.)
county comparison to the world: 85
Deaths: fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8s

Major infectious diseases

Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
Water contact disease: leptospirosis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2005)

Ethnic groups

The vast majority (about 98%) of Bangladeshis, as the nation's name would imply, hail from the Bengali ethno-linguistic group. This group also spans the neighboring Indian province of West Bengal. Minority ethnic groups include Meitei, Khasi, Santhals, Chakma, Garo (tribe), Biharis, Oraons, Mundas and Rohingyas.
Biharis are Urdu-speaking, non-Bengalis who emigrated from the state of Bihar and other parts of northern India during the 1947 partition. They are concentrated in the Dhaka and Rangpur areas and number some 300,000. In the 1971 independence war many of them sided with Pakistan, as they stood to lose their positions in the upper levels of society. Hundreds of thousands went to Pakistan and those that remained were interned in refugee camps. Their population declined from about 1 million in 1971 to 600,000 in the late 1980s. Refugees International has called them a "neglected and stateless" people as they are denied citizenship by the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan. As nearly 40 years has passed, two generations of Biharis have been born in the these camps. Biharis were granted Bangladeshi citizenhip and voting rights in 2008.
Bangladesh's tribal population was enumerated at 897,828 in the 1981 census. These tribes are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and around Mymensingh, Sylhet, and Rajshahi. They are of Sino-Tibetan descent and differ markedly in their social customs, religion, language and level of development. The speak Tibeto-Burman languages and most are Buddhist or Hindu. The four largest tribes are Chakmas, Marmas, Tipperas and Mros. Smaller groups include the Santals in Rajshahi and Dinajpur, and Khasis, Garos, and Khajons in Mymensingh and Sylhet regions.
There are small communities of Meitei people in the Sylhet district, which is close to the Meitei homeland across the border in Manipur, India.
There is a small population of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar near the border in the southeast. There are 28,000 living in two UN refugee camps in Cox's Bazaar as well as some 200,000 "unregistered people of concern" living outside of the camps. The refugee crisis originated in the early 1990s when the first wave numbering some 250,000 of the predominantly Muslim ethnic group fled persecution from their home in Rakhaine—Myanmar's western-most state. Bangladesh seeks to repatriate the refugees back to Myanmar.


According to the 2001 census, the religious profile of the population is: Islam 89.7%, Hinduism 9.2%, Buddhism 0.7%, Christianity 0.3% and others (such as Animists) 0.1%. The majority of the Muslims are Sunni consisting of 95% of the Muslim population, and the remaining are Shi'a and other sects.
Hindus constituted 18.5% of the population in 1961, but their population declined significantly during the Bangladesh Liberation War due to the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities carried out by the Pakistan Army. As a result, millions of Hindus fled to India and their population in Bangladesh fell to 13.5% by 1974. Since then, the Hindu population has not grown as much as the Muslim population.


  • Official language: Bengali (also known as Bangla)
  • Dialects: Chittagonian and Sylheti (both also regarded as languages in their own right)
  • Tribal languages: Khasi-Jainta, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Arakanese, Chakma, Garo, Ho, Kokborok and Kurukh
  • Other languages: English (spoken and known widely in upper-class & politics), Arabic ( sometimes spoken and known by many Muslims, due to Islam being the primary religion), Urdu (understood by some, and spoken by Biharis)'


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 43.1%
Male: 53.9%
Female: 31.8% (2003 est.)
Education expenditures
2.7% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 151

See also

  • Bangladeshi society


  • This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2011 edition".
  • This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).
  1. The World Factbook, CIA, accessed on Feb 13, 2010.
  2. Bangladesh Burueau of Statistics
  3. "Indicators: Bangladesh". United Nations Population Fund. http://www.unfpa.org/profile/bangladesh.cfm. Retrieved 2006-07-28. 
  4. Medium fertility variant, "World Population Prospects: 2004 Revision". UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. http://esa.un.org/unpp/. 
  5. "Background Note: Bangladesh". U.S. Department of State. 2005-08. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3452.htm. 
  6. "Country Profiles: Bangladesh". Population Reference Bureau. http://www.prb.org/TemplateTop.cfm?Section=PRB_Country_Profiles&template=/customsource/countryprofile/countryprofiledisplay.cfm&Country=395. Retrieved 2006-07-28. 
  7. "CIA World Factbook 2006". CIA. http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/wofact2006/geos/bg.html#People. 
  8. "State of World Population 2006". United Nations Population Fund. http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2006/english/notes/indicators/e_indicator2.pdf. 
  9. "CIA World Factbook 2007". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bg.html#People. 
  10. "World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision". UN. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2006/wpp2006_highlights.pdf. 
  11. "World Development Indicators". World Bank. http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/DATASTATISTICS/0,,contentMDK:20394872~menuPK:1192714~pagePK:64133150~piPK:64133175~theSitePK:239419,00.html. 
  12. "CIA World Factbook 2010". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bg.html. 
  13. "World Population Highlights: Key Findings From PRB's 2010 World Population Data Sheet". World Population Reference. http://www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2010/worldpopulationhighlights2010.aspx. 
  14. Ghezzi et al. (2005), Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup K is associated with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease in Italians, European Journal of Human Genetics (2005) 13, 748–752.
  15. Mait Metspalu et al., Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans. BMC Genetics, 2004
  16. Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity, Bangladesh: A Country Study, Edited by James Heitzman and Robert Worden, Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989.
  17. Refugees of Nowhere: The Stateless Biharis of Bangladesh, Refugees International, 2006-02-15
  18. "Citizenship for Bihari refugees". BBC News. 2008-05-19. 7407757. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7407757.stm. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  19. 2010 Regional Operations Profile - South-East Asia, UNHCR, 2010.
  20. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh refuse repatriation, AFP, Dec 30, 2009.
  21. Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS)

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