Demographics

Nepal\'s population has grown from 9 million people in 1950 to 26.6 million in 2011.  Nepal\'s population increased from 23,151,423 in 2001 to 26,620,809, with a subsequent family size decline from 5.44 to 4.7 Although the population growth recorded was only 1.4 percent for the latest census period, some 1,917,903 absentee population was noted, over a million more than 762 thousand in 2001, most being male workers. This correlated with the drop in sex ratio from 94.41 as compared to 99.80 for 2001.

The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet, and North Burma and the Chinese province of Yunnan via Assam. Even though Indo-Nepalese migrants were latecomers to Nepal relative to the migrants from the north, they have come to dominate the country not only numerically, but also socially, politically, and economically.

Among the earliest inhabitants were the Kirat of east mid-region, Newar of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Terai region. The ancestors of the Brahmin and Chetri caste groups came from India\'s present Kumaon, Garhwal and Kashmir regions, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to North Burma and Yunnan and Tibet, e.g. the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai and Limbu in the east (from Yunnan and north Burma via Assam), and Sherpa and Bhutia in the north (from Tibet).

In the Terai, a part of the Ganges Basin with 20% of the land, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryans of northern India. Indo-Aryan and East-Asian-looking mixed people live in the hill region. Indo-Aryan ancestry has been a source of prestige in Nepal for centuries, and the ruling families have been of Indo-Aryan and Hindu background. The mountainous highlands are sparsely populated. Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation\'s area but is the most densely populated, with almost 20% of the population.

Nepal is a multilingual society.

These data are largely derived from Nepal\'s 2001 census results published in the Nepal Population Report 2002.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Nepal hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers in 2007 numbering approximately 130,000. Of this population, approximately 109,200 persons were from Bhutan and 20,500 from People\'s Republic of China. The government of Nepal restricted ethnic Nepalese expelled from Bhutan to seven camps in the Jhapa and Morang districts, and refugees were not permitted to work in most professions. At present, the United States is working towards resettling more than 60,000 of these refugees in the US.

Population Structure
Data Size
Population 26,620,000 (2011)
Growth Rate 1.6%
Population below 14 Years old 39%
Population of age 15 to 64 57.3%
Population above 65 3.7%
The median age (Average) 20.07
The median age (Male) 19.91
The median age (Females) 20.24
Ratio (Male:Female) 1, 000:1,060
Life expectancy (Average)( Reference: [2]) 66.16 Years
Life expectancy (Male) 64.94
Life expectancy (Female) 67.44
Literacy Rate (Average) 68.2% ( According to the UNDP report 2011)
Literacy Rate (Male) NA
Literacy Rate (Female) NA

Despite the migration of a significant section of the population to the southern plains or terai in recent years, the majority of the population still lives in the central highlands. The northern mountains are sparsely populated.

Kathmandu, with a population of over 2.6 million (metropolitan area: 5 million), is the largest city in the country.

Languages

Nepal\'s diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian and various indigenous language isolates. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (70%), Maithili (5%), Bhojpuri (3%), Tharu (4%), Tamang (3%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3.6%), Magar (2.4%), Rai (2.8%), Awadhi (2.5%), Limbu (1.5%), and Bajjika (1%).

Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali has roots in Sanskrit and is written in Devanagari script. Nepali is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalis of different ethnolinguistic groups. Regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and rarely Hindi are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Many Nepalis in government and business speak English as well. Dialects of Tibetan are spoken in and north of the higher Himalaya where standard literary Tibetan is widely understood by those with religious education. Local dialects in the Terai and hills are mostly unwritten with efforts underway to develop systems for writing many in Devanagari or the Roman alphabet.

Religion

Nepal religiosity
religion

percent
Hinduism
  
80.6%
Buddhism
  
10.7%
Islam
  
4.2%
Mundhum
  
3.6%
Christianity
  
0.5%
Other
  
0.4%

The overwhelming majority of the Nepalese population follows Hinduism. Shiva is regarded as the guardian deity of the country. Nepal is home to the famous Lord Shiva temple, the Pashupatinath Temple, where Hindus from all over the world come for pilgrimage. According to mythology, Sita Devi of the epic Ramayana, was born in the Mithila Kingdom of King Janaka Raja.

Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site and UNESCO World Heritage Site site in the Kapilavastu district. Traditionally it is held to be the birthplace in about 563 B.C. of Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya caste prince of the Sakya clan, who, as the Buddha Gautama, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.

The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in which only monasteries can be built. All three main branches of Buddhism exist in Nepal and the Newa people have their own branch of the faith. Buddhism is also the dominant religion of the thinly populated northern areas, which are mostly inhabited by Tibetan-related peoples, such as the Sherpa.

The Buddha, born as a Hindu, is also said to be a descendant of Vedic Sage Angirasa in many Buddhist texts. The Buddha\'s family surname is associated with Gautama Maharishi. Differences between Hindus and Buddhists have been minimal in Nepal due to the cultural and historical intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Morever traditionally Buddhism and Hinduism were never two distinct religions in the western sense of the word. In Nepal, the faiths share common temples and worship common deities. Among other natives of Nepal, those more influenced by Hinduism were the Magar, Sunwar, Limbu and Rai and the Gurkhas. Hindu influence is less prominent among the Gurung, Bhutia, and Thakali groups who employ Buddhist monks for their religious ceremonies. Most of the festivals in Nepal are Hindu. The Machendrajatra festival, dedicated to Hindu Shaiva Siddha, is celebrated by many Buddhists in Nepal as a main festival. As it is believed that Ne Muni established Nepal, some important priests in Nepal are called \"Tirthaguru Nemuni\". Islam is a minority religion in Nepal, with 4.2% of the population being Muslim according to a 2006 Nepalese census. Mundhum, Christianity and Jainism are other minority faiths.

Largest cities

The 13 largest cities in 2001 (*2011) by population) [97]
  1. Kathmandu (1,006,656)*
  2. Biratnagar (Pop.: 166,674)
  3. Lalitpur (Pop.: 162,991)
  4. Pokhara (Pop.: 156,312)
  5. Birganj (Pop.: 112,238)
  6. Dharan (Pop.: 95,332)
  7. Bharatpur (Pop.: 89,323)
  8. Bhim Datta (Pop.:80,839)
  9. Janakpur (Pop.: 74,192)
  10. Butwal (Pop.: 75,384)
  11. Bhaktapur(Pop.: 72.543)
  12. Hetauda (Pop.:68,482)
  13. Dhangadhi (Pop.: 67,447)