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GDP Growth rate (2017) 4.63 %
Population Poverty Rate (2017) 8.2%
General Literacy Rate (2017) 71.4%
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Launch of 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan Report

Hotel Taj Tashi, Thimphu

25th June 2018

His Excellency Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan, launched the reports of 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan (2017 PHCB).


The 2017 PHCB, which is the second in series, was conducted by adopting the de-facto method of enumeration, which means that people were counted where they were found on the census reference date regardless of their nationality or usual place of residence. The reference time and date for the census enumeration was midnight of 29 May 2017.


The main objective of the 2017 PHCB is to provide data for the purposes of policy formulation, socio-economic planning, service delivery, and indicators for measuring progress towards the achievement of key government targets.


The 2017 PHCB revealed that as of 30 May 2017, Bhutan’s total population was 735,553 persons where 681,720 persons were Bhutanese and 53,833 persons were non-Bhutanese. Out of the total population, 62.2% lived in rural areas and 37.8% lived in urban areas. In the last twelve years (2005-2017), Bhutan’s total population has increased by 16% and the population density increased from 17 to 19 persons/km2.


Among Dzongkhags, Thimphu has the largest population (138,736), constituting 19.1% of the total population, while the least populated is Gasa Dzongkhag with 3,952 persons (<1.0%).

The sex ratio of the population is 110, which indicates that there are 110 males for every 100 females. The median age is 26.9 years, indicating that half of Bhutan’s population is younger than 26.9 years. The total dependency ratio is 47, which is a decrease from 60.6 in 2005.

The literacy rate of Bhutan is 71.4%, which is an increase of 11.9 percentage points from 2005 (59.5%). The highest literacy rate is observed in Thimphu Dzongkhag at 83.9%, followed by Trongsa (77.2%) and Chhukha (75.1%), while Gasa Dzongkhag had the lowest (59.8%).

Among the persons aged 6 years and above, 29.4% are currently attending school/institute, 35.9% had attended in the past, and 34.7% have never attended school/institute. In the last twelve years (2005-2017), the proportion of population who hadnever attended schools/institutes declined by 12.7 percentage points.

The birth attendance by health professionals for women who gave birth in the twelve months preceding the census reference day increased from 50.9% in 2005 to 97.2% (10,927 births) in 2017. The life expectancy at birth is 70.2 years, which is an increase from 66.3 years in 2005.

The Crude Birth Rate (CBR) is 15.5 per 1,000 population, which is a decrease from 19.7 in 2005.  The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is 1.7, which implies that a woman on an average bears 1.7 children during her reproductive life. It has also declined from 2.5 in 2005.

The Crude Death Rate (CDR) for Bhutan is 6.7 deaths per 1,000 populations, which is a slight decrease from 7.1 in 2005. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is 89 per 100,000 live births. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 15.1, the Child Mortality Rate (CMR) is 19.0, and the Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) is 34.1 per 1,000 live births. All childhood mortality indicators had improved in the last 12 years (2005-2017), where IMR decreased from 40.1 to 15.1, CMR decreased from 21.5 to 19 and U5MR decreased from 61.6 to 34.1.

The census revealed that unemployment rate in 2017 is 2.4%. It is an urban phenomenon with unemployment rate of 4.6% compared to 1.3% in rural areas. The youth unemployment rate is 10.6%. The youth unemployment rate is also much higher in urban areas (16.7%) compared to 6.7% in rural areas.

Among the population born in Bhutan, 48.7% had moved away from their gewog/town of births, while 39.8% had moved away from their dzongkhag of births. About 22% of the population born in Bhutan had migrated from rural to urban areas. Thimphu dzongkhag, Thimphu thromde and Phuentshogling thromde are the main gaining dzongkhags/thromdes, while Zhemgang, Lhuentse and Trashignag dzongkhags are the main loosing dzongkhags.

The census revealed that there are 163,001 regular households in the country, which is an increase of 29.2% from 2005 (126,115). The average household size has reduced to 3.9 persons from 4.6 in 2005.

About 96.6% of the households in the country use electricity as the main source of energy for lighting, which is an increase of 39.5 percentage points from 2005 (57.1%). 98.6% of the total households have access to improved sources of drinking water, which is an increase of 14.1 percentage points from 2005 (84.5%). About 18% of the households have reported that the source of drinking water is not reliable. The proportion of households with improved sanitation is 74.8% in 2017.

About 92% of the households in the country are within 30 minutes of walking distance from the nearest motor road, which is an increase from 63% in 2005. During the 12 months preceding the census reference day, 6.2% of households experienced food insufficiency (i.e. not enough food to feed all household members).

Among the regular Bhutanese households (158,513), 60.4% reported that they own land. The proportion households owning land is higher in rural areas (72.8%) than in urban areas (38.7%).

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(National Statistics Bureau)


Jun 26, 2018    News    sonam    2911 views