Social Issues

Nepal’s population grows at slowest pace in 80 years

Kathmandu, Jan 26 (EFE).- Nepal’s population grew at its slowest pace in 80 years to reach 29.19 million, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Unveiling the preliminary data of the national census conducted in November last year, the national statistical agency said that Nepal’s average annual population grew by 0.93 percent.

Nepal has been conducting the national census since 1911 every 10 years.

The average population growth rate in the 2011 census was 1.35 percent.

Nepal’s population, which was 26.5 million as of 2011, was projected to grow to 30.4 million by 2021, and 33.6 million by 2031.

According to the agency, out of the total population, the share of females is 51.04 percent. The population of females numbered 14.90 million while that of males was 14.29 million.

“The main reason behind the slowest growth in population appears to be outward migration of Nepalis for jobs and studies,” Hem Raj Regmi, deputy director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics, told EFE.

Regmi said the population growth rate in Nepal was less than the average growth rate of the population globally.

The global average annual growth rate is 1.01 percent, according to World Bank data.

Nepal plans to unveil the final census report within the next six to seven months.

Govind Subedi, the Head of Central Department of Population Studies, Tribhuvan University, told EFE that there were three key factors behind the slow growth rate.

First, a large number of young adults, having high fertility, moved to foreign countries in search of jobs and they passed out of their childbearing years.

The statistics show that 2.16 million Nepalis were living abroad. Out of them, 81.28 percent were male.

“For many Nepalis, out-migration is more a necessity than a choice for a family or individual survival,” he said.

The second factor is the drop in child mortality rate, Subedi said.

According to him, in 2020, the death rate for Nepal was 6.3 per 1,000 people. Between 1971 and 2020, Nepal’s death rate was declining at a moderate rate to shrink from 21.9 per 1,000 people in 1971 to 6.3 per 1,000 people in 2020.

“If you are confident that your child won’t die, you don’t want an extra child,” said Subedi.

“There has been a massive awareness among people due to the rise in education level for a small family resulting in a drop in fertility rate.”

The third factor is income. “When poor families achieve a certain level of income there is a drop in fertility,” said Subedi.

According to Nepal’s central bank’s data, remittance sent by migrant workers increased 8.2 percent to $8.15 billion in the Nepali fiscal year 2020-21 that ended mid-July 2021.

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