Population Composition in Nepal by Caste and Ethnic Groups


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Population Composition in Nepal by Caste and Ethnic Groups


The word ‘Demography’ is derived from the Greek language which means a scientific study of population. It is formed with two words ‘Demos’ and ‘Graphy’. Demos means people and Graphy means study. Thus, the subject that studies the human population is called demography. At first, this word was used by the Belgium citizen ‘Achille Guillerd’

The British intellectual John Graunt is known as the father of demographic studies. He had done an important study on mortality rate. Demography focuses on the statistical aspect of the population. Various aspects of population are studied in the population education. The population education was developed during the period of 1960-70 AD. Population education is an educational programme. It makes the individuals aware about the effects and consequences of the population growth.

Birth, death and migration are the most important demographic elements. These three elements determine the population change of any region or country. Thus birth, death and migration are called the determinants of population change.

Fertility, mortality and migration are called the demographic processes. These factors determine the population change of any place or region. Birth, death and migration are the demographic elements. There is difference between the demographic process and element. Fertility is a process whereas birth is an element. Likewise, mortality is a process whereas death is an element. The measurement of population indicates the measurement of birth rate, death rate and migration rate. The act of measuring demographic rates is called demographic measurement.


There are many factors affecting the population. The population of a country or region is divided into various groups according to the factors affecting the population. This is called composition of population. The study of the population can be done on the basis of sex, age, caste, occupation, mother tongue, literacy and educational status, area of settlement, etc. The composition of population on the basis of literacy and occupation has been presented in this lesson.

Nepal has been since long known as a multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural country. Size of various ethnic/caste groups in the total population was hardly known. Various native ethnic groups inhabit scattered in many places of Nepal. They do have their own customs, traditions and culture. There was not a system of keeping records of these ethnic groups in the past. The censuses from 1911 to 1981 AD did not keep any records of population and habitats of these ethnic groups. The tenth census of 2001 AD collected the information of about 103 ethnic groups with over 65 different languages in Nepal. Largest ethnic groups are the Brahmans and Chhetris. Some of the ethnic groups are very small.  Many languages spoken by these groups in Nepal are in danger of disappearing.

Two thirds of the total populations are smaller ethnic groups. They are blacksmiths, cobblers, tailors, sweepers and butchers and etc by caste traditional professional,. These groups are known as ‘untouchables’ group.

 Table of population composition by caste/ethnic groups, 2001 AD


S.N. Mother
Population in Percentage
1971 1981 1991 2001
1 Nepali 52.45 58.36 50.31 48.61
2 Maithali 11.49 11.11 11.85 12.30
3 Bhojpuri 6.98 7.61 7.46 7.53
4 Tharu 4.29 3.63 5.37 5.86
5 Newari 3.94 2.99 3.73 3.63
6 Aawadhi 2.74 1.56 2.03 2.47
7 Hindi 0.92 0.47
8 Urdu 1.09 0.77
9 Tamang 4.80 3.48 4.89 5.19
10 Magar 2.50 1.42 2.33 3.39
11 Rani Kirat 2.01 1.47 2.38
12 Gurung 1.49 1.16 1.23 1.49
13 Limbu 1.48 0.86 1.37 1.47
14 Bhote/Sherpa 0.69 0.49 0.66 0.57
15 Satar 0.18 0.15 0.14
16 Santhal 0.03 .04 0.04 0.18
17 Sunuwar 0.18 0.07 0.12
18 Danuwar 0.09 0.09 0.13 0.14
19 Thakali 0.04 0.04 0.03
20 Others 4.21 5.09 3.51 11.34
21 unidentified 0.05

Source: CBS, 2001

The above mentioned table clarifies that majority of people i.e. 48.61% of the total population speak language as a mother tongue. Maithali language comes in the second position because it is spoken by 12.30% people of the total Nepalese. The other language spoken by the Nepalese people are Bhojpuri (7.53%), Tharu (5.86%), Limbu (1.47%), Awadhi (2.47%), Tamang (5.19%), Gurung (1.49%), Newari (3.63%), Magar (3.39%) etc. according to the census of 2001 AD. The census 2001 collected the information of about 92 languages. However, people claim that there are still some more languages to be recorded and recognized by the government.

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Population Composition in Nepal by Caste 2011

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Jitendra Sahayogee

I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a writer of 12 Nepali literature books, film director of Maithili film & Nepali short movies, photographer, founder of the media house, designer of some websites and writer & editor of some blogs, has expert knowledge & experiences of Nepalese society, culture, tourist places, travels, business, literature, movies, festivals, celebrations.

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