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Civil War History
By Exit Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Bangladesh
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Map of Bangladesh
Background:Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
Location:Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Geographic coordinates:24 00 N, 90 00 E
Map references:Asia
Area:total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly smaller than Iowa
Land boundaries:total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km

Coastline:580 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin

Climate:tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
Terrain:mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m

Natural resources:natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Land use:arable land: 62.11%
permanent crops: 3.07%
other: 34.82% (2001)

Irrigated land:38,440 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Environment - current issues:many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
Population:144,319,628 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 33.1% (male 24,590,207/female 23,162,420)
15-64 years: 63.5% (male 46,764,824/female 44,868,733)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 2,650,683/female 2,282,761) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 21.87 years
male: 21.88 years
female: 21.85 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:2.09% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:30.01 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.16 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 62.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 63.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 61.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 62.08 years
male: 62.13 years
female: 62.02 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:3.13 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:13,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:650 (2001 est.)
Nationality:noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi

Ethnic groups:Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)
Religions:Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)
Languages:Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 43.1%
male: 53.9%
female: 31.8% (2003 est.)

Country name:conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
former: East Pakistan

Government type:parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:6 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, and Sylhet
Independence:16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
National holiday:Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
Constitution:4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986, amended many times
Legal system:based on English common law
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Iajuddin AHMED (since 6 September 2002); note - the president's duties are normally ceremonial, but with the 13th amendment to the constitution ("Caretaker Government Amendment"), the president's role becomes significant at times when Parliament is dissolved and a caretaker government is installed - at presidential direction - to supervise the elections
head of government: Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA (since 10 October 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president
elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term; election scheduled for 16 September 2002 was not held since Iajuddin AHMED was the only presidential candidate; he was sworn in on 6 September 2002 (next election to be held by NA 2007); following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Iajuddin AHMED declared by the Election Commission elected unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA

Legislative branch:unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies (the constitutional amendment reserving 30 seats for women over and above the 300 regular parliament seats expired in May 2001); members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 1 October 2001 (next to be held before October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - BNP and alliance partners 47%, AL 40%; seats by party - BNP 195, AL 58, JI 17, JP (Ershad faction) 14, IOJ 3, JP (Naziur) 4, other 9; note - the election of October 2001 brought a majority BNP government aligned with three other smaller parties - Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote, and Jatiya Party (Manzur)

Judicial branch:Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Bangladesh Communist Party or BCP [Saifuddin Ahmed MANIK]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA, chairperson]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [Mufti Fazlul Haq AMINI]; Jamaat-e-Islami or JI [Motiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Jatiya Party (Manzur faction) [Naziur Rahman MANZUR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
Flag description:green with a large red disk slightly to the hoist side of center; the red sun of freedom represents the blood shed to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush countryside, and secondarily, the traditional color of Islam
Economy - overview:Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and ill-governed nation. Although half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, inadequate port facilities, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, delays in exploiting energy resources (natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Economic reform is stalled in many instances by political infighting and corruption at all levels of government. Progress also has been blocked by opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups. The BNP government, led by Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA, has the parliamentary strength to push through needed reforms, but the party's political will to do so has been lacking in key areas. One encouraging note: growth has been a steady 5% for the past several years.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $275.7 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:4.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $2,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 21.2%
industry: 27.1%
services: 51.7% (2004 est.)

Labor force:65.49 million
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances estimated at $1.71 billion in 1998-99 (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 63%, industry 11%, services 26% (FY95/96)
Unemployment rate:40% (includes underemployment) (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:45% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 28.6% (1995-96 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:33.6 (FY95/96)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):6% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):23.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $5.921 billion
expenditures: $8.262 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:43% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry
Industries:cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar
Industrial production growth rate:6.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:16.45 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 93.7%
hydro: 6.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:15.3 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:3,581 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:71,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:28.45 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:9.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:9.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:150.3 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:$216.6 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$7.478 billion (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood (2001)
Exports - partners:US 22.7%, Germany 14.5%, UK 10.8%, France 6.7% (2004)
Imports:$10.03 billion (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement (2000)
Imports - partners:India 14.6%, China 11.7%, Singapore 7.8%, Japan 5.8%, Hong Kong 4.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$3 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$19.97 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):taka (BDT)
Currency code:BDT
Exchange rates:taka per US dollar - 59.513 (2004), 58.15 (2003), 57.888 (2002), 55.807 (2001), 52.142 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June
Telephones - main lines in use:740,000 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1.365 million (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: totally inadequate for a modern country
domestic: modernizing; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
international: country code - 880; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2000)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 12, FM 12, shortwave 2 (1999)
Radios:6.15 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:15 (1999)
Televisions:770,000 (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts:1 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):10 (2000)
Internet users:243,000 (2003)
Railways:total: 2,706 km
broad gauge: 884 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,822 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 207,486 km
paved: 19,773 km
unpaved: 187,713 km (1999)

Waterways:8,372 km
note: includes 2,575 km main cargo routes (2004)

Pipelines:gas 2,012 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Chittagong, Mongla Port
Merchant marine:total: 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 319,897 GRT/440,575 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 28, container 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4
foreign-owned: 10 (China 1, Singapore 9)
registered in other countries: 14 (2005)

Airports:16 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Military branches:Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2005)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 35,170,019 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 26,841,255 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$995.3 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.8% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:discussions with India remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, exchange 162 miniscule enclaves in both countries, allocate divided villages, and stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh protests India's attempts to fence off high-traffic sections of the porous boundary; a joint Bangladesh-India boundary inspection in 2005 revealed 92 pillars are missing; dispute with India over New Moore/South Talpatty/Purbasha Island in the Bay of Bengal deters maritime boundary delimitation; Burmese Muslim refugees strain Bangladesh's meager resources
Refugees and internally displaced persons::IDPs: 61,000 (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2004)
Illicit drugs:transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries

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