KATHMANDU: Nepal’s population has risen to 27.1 million with 17 per cent of total countrymen living in urban areas. The population is projected to reach 35.2 million by middle of the century, according to a major study.
“Nepal’s 27,140,000 population is predicted to rise to 31.7 million by mid 2030 and 35.2 million in mid-2050,” a World Population Data Sheet released by the Population Reference Bureau said.
According to the 2011 national census, country’s population was 26,494,505 with the annual growth rate of 1.35 per cent. According to the data till mid-2014, 34 per cent of the total population is below 15 years of age while five per cent of the people residing in Nepal are 65 years or older, the PRB’s study said.
Nepali mothers now have an average of 2.4 children, down from six in 1970, thanks largely to better reproductive health care system.
Country’s progress can also be seen in the field of maternal and neonatal health services as the data shows infant mortality rate has fallen to 46 from 166 per 1,000 live births in 1970.
“Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births have also fallen from 790 in 1990 to 190,” the report states, adding that birth and death ratios per 1,000 population stand at 22 and 7, respectively.
Only half of the married women in ages between 15 and 49 years use birth control methods while 43 per cent have access to modern methods.
The study also analyses the average number of years a newborn can expect to live at current mortality levels. “Life expectancy has gone up to 67 years for Nepali males and 69 for females. It was just 42 for both sexes in 1970.”
According to data, rate of natural increase (the birth rate minus the death rate, implying the annual rate of population growth ignoring migration) is 1.5 per cent in Nepal.
Country’s Gross National Income per capita at purchasing power parity is USD 2,260, the report adds.
Prof Ram Sharan Pathak, who heads the central department of population studies at the Tribhuvan University, opined that the trend of population growth should be analysed while formulating long term development plans and policies. “Demographic strata are always helpful for development policy makers and planners to overcome all kind of challenges in future,” he said.
The PRF report also gives 16 population, health and environment indicators for more than 200 countries. “World population is forecast to rise from 7.2 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050. India is projected to pass China in population size in about 15 years, becoming the world’s most populous country, about 1.5 billion people.”
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