Nepal Population and Language
Nepal’s approximately 30 million residents comprise a complex mix of ethnic groups, defined by ethnicity, caste, language and to some extent religion, geographical residence and social affiliation. Sometimes the identities overlap, which contributes to widely differing perceptions of how many peoples there are.
In a 2011 census, 126 groups were identified, identified by caste or ethnicity, and almost as many languages. The largest individual group comprised just under 17 percent of the residents, while the large majority of groups gathered less than 1 percent.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Nepal, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The castes generally consist of people who speak Indo-European languages and originate in India in the south or west. The so-called ethnic groups speak mainly Tibetan Burmese languages and are believed to have roots in Tibet in the north or in mountainous regions to the east. However, many have been in the area for millennia and are sometimes called indigenous people.
The Indo-Nepalese are the most numerous and among them the high-caste groups chhetri (kshatriya) and bahun (brahmans) dominate in number. They form a leading social stratum along with newar, a people who have lived in the Kathmandu valley for a long time. Among the many Tibetan Nepalese are stomachs, tharu and sherpa, a people who are often recruited as bearers and guides for mountaineering.
The name gurkha is sometimes used about the high-caste Indo-Nepalese who are considered to have founded modern Nepal (see Ancient History). The term gurkha has several uses. The mercenaries that both India and the United Kingdom recruit in Nepal are called cucumber soldiers, even though they belong mainly to other peoples.
Sometimes a main line is drawn between the dominant Hindu caste groups and groups that call themselves “native nationalities” or janajati. Another division is between madhesi, those who live in the lowlands of Terai in the south, and pahadi (parbatiya) who live in the valleys of central Nepal. Not least, the latest divide has gained political explosiveness in recent times (see Political system and Current politics).
The population is young, 60 percent are under 25. However, the previously high birth rate has decreased, from just over five children per woman in 1990 to just over two children 25 years later. The population has doubled since the mid-1980s.
The official language of Nepali, from the beginning Gurkha people’s language, is an Indo-Indian language that is closely related to Hindi. Both languages have their roots in the Indian Sanskrit written language. Almost half of Nepalese have Nepali as their mother tongue. There are also a large number of minority languages and many dialects. In the higher classes, English is also spoken.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
over 100 ethnic groups defined by ethnicity / caste
Number of residents
29 304 998 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
19.3 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
19.7 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
6.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
1.1 percent (2017)
2.1 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
51.5 percent (2017)
70 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
72 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
69 years (2016)
Nepali is the official language, a variety of minority languages, English is fluent
The Supreme Court is trying to break the deadlock
In an attempt to break the deadlock in the country’s Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court intervenes and decides that the members will not be allowed to abstain from voting for a new prime minister.
Sixteen votes – no prime minister
After 16 votes in the Constituent Assembly on a new prime minister, Nepal is still without the head of government and the regular government. Most parties boycott the votes; only a fraction of the members participate.
Seven votes – no prime minister
Although the Constituent Assembly has voted for a new prime minister a total of seven times, no candidate has collected enough votes. The reason is that many members now boycott the votes.
Problems with the election of head of government
The Constituent Assembly fails to vote for a new prime minister. Maoist UCPN-M leader Prachanda gets the most votes, but no candidate gets at least half of the vote, which is required to be elected.
Yet another government is departing
Prime Minister Nepal and his coalition government resign. However, Nepal is commissioned to lead a temporary ministry to handle routine government work.
The work on the constitution extends over time
The deadline for the work of writing a proposal for a new constitution passes without the committee presenting any result. The Constituent Assembly extends its own mandate by one year for the country to have some kind of parliament.