Population Situation of Nepal and Environment

Published by: Mandira

Published Date: 12 Jan 2022

Population Situation of Nepal and Environment in Grade 9

Size of Population

A population can be defined as the total number of all the organisms of a same group or species living in a particular geographical area. The population is the total number of people living in a particular place like village, city, country etcetera at a particular time. The population of any area does not remain the same, it keeps on changing with respect to time, environment, fertility, mortality and migration. We can estimate the size of the population of a particular place at a particular time.

Population Size and its Growth Rate

The current population of the world is 7.4 billion according to the 2016 survey. It is the highest of all. The population of the world is increasing day by day. China covers 18.79% (according to a survey conducted on June 20, 2016, AD) of the World with the highest population in the world. The country with least population in the world is Vatican City with 839 people according to the survey conducted on July 1, 2012, AD. Talking about the history of the population of Nepal, the first census was conducted in 1911 AD until 1940 AD but, it was not systematic. But in 19525/52 AD, the census was conducted using internationally acceptable definition and methodology. But only the census of 1961 AD is accepted as the first scientific census of Nepal in terms of international standard and comparison.

The given table present the total number of population from the census since 1911 AD.

Census Year
Net Growth Average Annual
Growth Rate
Doubling Time
1911 56, 38, 749 - - -
1920 55, 73, 788 -64, 961 -(0.13) -
1930 55, 32, 574 -41, 214 -(0.07) -
1941 62, 83, 649 7,51,075 1.16 60
1952/54 82, 56, 625 19,72,976 2.27 31
1961 94, 12, 996 11,56,371 1.64 42
1971 1, 15, 55, 983 21,42,987 2.05 34
1981 1, 50, 22, 839 34,66,856 2.26 26
1991 1, 84,91,097 34,86,258 2.08 33
2001 2, 31, 51, 423 46,60,326 2.25 31
2011 2, 64, 94, 504 33,43,081 1.35 52

In the above-given table, we can observe that the population of Nepal was decreasing up to 1930 AD. The population of Nepal was in decreasing phase from 1911 to 1930 AD. The population of Nepal in 1911 was 5.6 million whereas in 1920 the population decreased to 5.5 million. The population in 1930 was less than the population in 1920. It is believed that the reason behind the decreasing trend of this population was worldwide influenza epidemic, famine, unscientific census and heavy casualties suffered by Nepalese Army in the First World War. The census of 1920 was conducted after the First World War and the census of 1941 AD was conducted during mid- period of the Second World War in which about 2,00,000 Nepalese soldiers were recruited in the Gurkha Army. The census of 1930 AD was conducted during the time when Nepal was preparing for war with Tibet. Other reasons may be undercounting of the population during those censuses because the census enumeration prior to 1952/54 AD used to be conducted by landlord's agent. This census lacks scientific and systematic methodology and trained and supervised persons who carried out the calculation.

Some reason of decrease in the population in the second and the third census are listed below,

  • First World War
  • Recruitment of Nepalese Youth to Gurkha Army
  • Unscientific and unsystematic methods of counting population
  • Famine for long period
  • Spread of pandemic Influenza
  • Due to Nepal- Tibet War

The population of Nepal started increasing from 1941 AD onwards. The population increased by 2.27% during census period from 1941 to 1952. The population of the Nepal increased by 1.64% from 1952/54 to 1961 AD. The population growth rate has crossed 2% since from 1971 to 2001 AD census. The population growth rate was 1.35% from 2001 to 2011 AD.
Here, the main reason for the increase in population was less mortality rate with persistent high fertility rate, the return of Nepalese from I and II World War and from other countries after the establishment of democracy, less spread of pandemic diseases, immigration in large number from neighboring countries like Bhutan, India, etc. The population growth rate was stable in 2011 AD as it was 1.35%. If the population of our country goes on increasing like this, the population of our country will be double in coming 52 years.

Some of the reasons for rapid increasing of population after 1941 AD are listed below,

  • Marriage at young age
  • High infant mortality rate
  • Low status of Women
  • Importance to son
  • High fertility rate
  • Immigration
  • Polygamy
  • Poverty
  • Superstition
  • Joint family
  • Lack of family planning

According to the population census report of 2011 AD, the demographic status of Nepal is given below,

Average population growth rate: 1.35%
TFR: 2.6
CBR: 24.3
IMR: 46
CMR: 54

This demographic data of 2011 AD is better than other censuses. As we know that, the population growth rate was less from 2001 to 2011 AD than other censuses. Education, an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate, foreign employment, public awareness, woman empowerment, the tendency of late marriage, attraction to the small and nuclear family were the reasons behind the fall of population growth rate. Some reasons behind the fall of population growth rate from 2001 AD to 2011 AD are listed below,

Some reasons behind the fall of population growth rate from 2001 AD to 2011 AD are listed below,

  • Increase in immigration rate due to foreign employment
  • Increase in contraceptive prevalence rate
  • Attraction of people towards small family
  • Marriage at suitable age
  • Status change of women
  • Acess to education and health facilities
  • Urbanization

Composition of Population: Sex, Caste and Religion

Composition of Population

The description of the population according to the different characteristics such as caste, religion, sex, language, occupation, etc is called composition of the population. It is the structure of the population. Caste, religion, etc reflects the social characteristics, age and sex reflect the demographic characteristics and occupation denote the economic characteristics. It is very important for the study of population. It provides detail information about the individual people. It helps to know about the total number pf people of a particular area belonging to different caste, religion, language, occupation, and sex. It helps the government to plan and carry out developmental activities. On the basis of population composition, the population can be classified into the following groups,

Population Composition by Sex

The arrangement of the population on the basis of sex is called population composition by sex. It is the structure of population on the basis of sex. It can also be defined as the distribution of population on the basis of sex that is male and female.

The table given below shows the population composition by sex of Nepal in different census:


Population Percent Population Percent
2001 1,15,63,921 49.9 1,15,87,502 50.1
2011 1,28,49,041 48.5 1,36,45,463 51.5


The above table shows the population composition by sex in 2001 and 2011 AD. Here, in both census, the population of the female is more than the population of male. The total percentage of female form the total population in 2001 AD is 50.1 and male is 49.9. Similarly, the population percentage of male and female in 2011 AD is 51.5 and 48.5 respectively. While studying the population composition by sex, we should not forget the contribution of sex ratio.

The sex ratio can be calculated by the given formula:

Sex Ratio = \(\frac{M}{F}\) \(\times\) 100

M: Total number of male population
F: Total number of female population

The sex ratio of various censuses has been shown in the following table:

Census Year (AD) 1981 1991 2001 2011
SexRatio 105 99.5 99.8 94.16

Sex ratio is the total number of male population per hundred female population. From the above table, we can observe that the sex ratio is high in 1981 AD. The sex ratio is observed low in 1991, 2001 and 2011 AD.

Population Composition by Castes/Ethnicity

There are various castes in Nepal. Nepali is a country of multicultural and multi- ethnicity. Our community and the country is made of various castes and ethnic groups. According to our great King Prithivi Narayan Shah, 'Nepal is a garden of 4 castes and 36 sub- castes'. Some of the examples of the caste of Nepal are Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri, Badi, Gaine. Hilly region and mountain region supports the caste like Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu whereas Terai region supports the caste like tharu, Dhimal, Gangai, Santhal etc. Though Nepal is a small country, a large variation in caste and ethnic groups can be seen. There was not reliable data and document about the various castes of Nepal since from 1911 to 1981. But the census of 2001 and 2011 AD provide exact data about the caste and ethnic groups of Nepal.

The given table shows the population composition by the major caste/ethnic groups:

Ethnic Group
2001   2011  
Population Per cent Population Per cent
Chhetri 3,593,496 15.80 4,398,053 16.6
Brahmin hill 2,896,477 12.74 3,226,903 12.18
Magar 1,622,421 7.14 1,887,733 7.12
Tharu 1,533,879 6.75 1,737,470 6.56
Tamang 1,282,304 5.64 1,539,830 5.81
Newar 1,245,232 5.48 1,321,933 4.99
Muslim 971,056 4.27 1,164,225 4.39
Kami 895,954 3.94 1,258,554 4.75
Yadav 895,423 3.94 1,054,458 3.98
Rai 635,151 2.79 620,004 2.34
Gurung 543,571 2.39 522,641 1.97
Damain/Dholi 390,305 1.72 472,862 1.78
Limbu 359,379 1.58 387,300 1.46
Thakuri 334,120 1.47 425,623 1.61
Sarki 318,989 1.40 374,816 1.41
Teli 304,536 1.34 369,688 1.4
Chamar/Harijan/Ram 269,661 1.19 355,893 1.34
Koiri/Kushwaha 251,274 1.11 321,109 1.21

From the given table, we can observe that, Chhetri is the largest caste in Nepal occupying 15.80 percent in 2001 AD and 16.6 percent in 2011 AD. The total percent of Sarki in 2001 AD is 1.40 and 1.41 in 2011 AD. The caste with least population is Koiri/Kushwaha occupying 1.11 percent in 2001 and 1.21 in 2011 AD.

Population Composition by Religion

People of Nepal belongs to the different religion. Nepal is a non-secular state. Nepal is a multi- lingual and multi- religious country. There are various religions followed by people in Nepal like Hindu, Buddist, Islam, Bon etc. The majority of people of Nepal follow Hindu religion and then second Buddhist religion. Nepal is a birthplace of Gautam Buddha. The total percentage of people following Hindu is 80.62 in 2001 and 81.34 in 2011 AD. People also follow other religions like Jain, Prakriti, Bon, Sikh etc.

The given table shows the population composition by religion in 2001 and 2011 AD.

Population (%)
2001 AD 2011 AD
Hindu 80.62 81.34
Buddhist 10.74 9.04
Islam 4.20 4.39
Kirant 3.60 3.05
Christianity 0.45 1.41
Jain 0.02 0.01
Prakriti -- 0.46
Bon -- 0.04
Sikh 0.02 0.01
Bahai 0.01 0.01
Others 0.34 0.23


Population Composition: Age, Mother tongue, Educational Status, Occupation

Population Composition by Age

Population classified on the basis of age is called population composition by ages. There are different people of different age. Some are a child, some are young, some are adults and some are old. These people of different age as a whole make a community or the population. The population of age group between 15 years to 59 years is known as economically active population and the population of age below 15 and above 60 years are considered as economically inactive or dependent population. The government can make the plan for adult, child and old people by knowing the composition of the population by age. The data about population composition by age are organized by 5 year age groups as it is very difficult to record and study about single age group.

The given table shows the population composition by age and sex in 2011 AD,

Age Group
(in years)

Population Percent Distribution
Male Female Total
00-04 10.23 9.18 9.69
05-09 12.73 11.50 12.10
10-14 13.73 12.54 13.12
15-19 11.23 10.91 11.07
20-24 8.13 9.63 8.90
25-29 7.14 8.52 7.85
30-34 6.00 7.07 6.55
35-39 5.76 6.33 6.06
40-44 5.14 5.32 5.23
45-49 4.48 4.38 4.43
50-54 3.94 3.66 3.80
55-59 3.21 2.97 3.09
60-64 2.87 2.85 2.86
65-69 2.16 2.03 2.09
70-74 1.55 1.43 1.49
75-79 0.91 0.86 0.89
80-84 0.49 0.48 0.49
85-89 0.20 0.20 0.20
90-94 0.07 0.08 0.08
95 and above 0.03 0.05 0.04

From the given table we can conclude that the population of age group 10- 14 has the highest percentage of the population with male 13.73 and female 12.54. The age group with the lowest population is 95 and age above it. The second age group with the highest population is of age group between 5- 9 years. Similarly, the population composition by age can also be analyzed with the help of broad age group. It helps to know about dependent and independent population.

The given table below shows the population composition of Nepal by broad age groups:

Census Year
(in AD)

Population composition by broad age group
0-14 15-59 60 and above
2001 39.31 54.2 6.5
2011 34.91 56.96 8.13

The above table shows that the population of age group 0- 14 is decreasing from 2001 to 2011 whereas the independent age group 15- 59 is increasing from 2001 to 2011 AD. The population of a country is said to be young population if the young age population(0-14 age group) shares more than 35% of the total population and if old age population shares more than 10% of the total population, it is called aging population. Talking about Nepal, Nepal has a young population.

Population Composition by Mother Tongue

As we know that there are various caste and ethnic group in Nepal. People of Nepal represent various caste. They have their own language and dialects. People of different area speak a different language. Some of the examples of different mother tongue are Rai, Maithili, Magar, Urdu, Gurung, Newar etc. The population is classified on the basis of language spoken by the people is known as population composition by language. Nepal has been recording the percentage of population composition by various languages since 1971 AD. Twenty different languages were recorded in 1971 AD census. On 2011 AD census, 123 different languages were recorded.
On 2011 AD a large number of language were recorded because people became aware of their own culture and tradition. They respect their language and speak their language for the protection and preservation of their culture and tradition. Their culture and tradition are their identities.

Mother tongue/


Population (in percent)
1991 2001 2011
Nepali 50.31 48.61 44.6
Maithili 11.85 12.30 11.7
Bhojpuri 7.46 7.53 6.0
Tharu 5.37 5.86 5.8
Tamang 4.89 5.19 5.1
Newar 3.73 3.63 3.2
Abadhi 2.03 2.47 1.9
Urdu 1.09 0.77 2.6
Magar 2.33 3.39 3.0
Gurung 1.23 1.49 1.23
Limbu 1.37 1.47 1.3
Sherpa 0.66 0.57 0.45
Santhal 0.04 0.18 0.19
Sunuwar -- 0.12 --
Danuwar 0.13 0.14 0.18
Thakali 0.04 0.03 0.02
Bajjika -- 1.05 2.99
Doteli -- -- 2.97
Baitadeli -- -- 1.03
Others 7.47 5.2 5.74

The given table shows that Nepali is the most spoken language as mother tongue in all three census. Maithili is the second language spoken by the people.

Population composition by Educational Status

Education is the key to all success. Education helps us to distinguish between wrong and right things. In today's world, education has become very important for the social and economic development of the country. It is an important indicator of development. In the context of Nepal, not all people are educated. Few of them are still uneducated especially female. They are not allowed to go the school. The literacy rate of male is more than the literacy rate of female. In developed countries, most or all of the people are educated but in underdeveloped or developing countries only half of the population are education with less female. The population composition of Nepal by educational status in 1991, 2001 and 2011 AD census is given below in the table,


Literacy rate of population 6 years and above
1991 2001 2011
Male 54.5 65.5 76.0
Female 25.0 42.8 57.8
Total 39.6 54.1 66.6

The above table shows the literacy rate of the population of Nepal above 6 years. The literacy rate in 1991 is found to be 39.6% with 54.5% male and 25% female. Here, males are given more priority than female in terms of education. The population of the male is double than the population of female. Similarly, the literacy rate of the population above 6 years is 54.1% with male 65.5% and female 42.8%. In 2011 AD, the literacy rate is found to be increased to 66.6% with male 76% and female 57.8%. In all this data, it is found that women are discriminated and are given less priority for education. This shows that still now also there is gender discrimination and women are not allowed to go to the school by their family.

Population Composition by Occupation

There are two types of population, dependent and independent population. Independent population is engaged in different economic activities. The government also record the population on the basis of people engaged in economic activities or different occupation. The data of population composition by occupation is very important because it shows the economic status of the country. It helps the government to prepare plan and policies for economic development. It tells about the employment generation. It provides information about the condition of agriculture, industries, and trade.

The given table below shows the data of population composition by the occupation of Nepal in 1991, 2001 and 2011 AD census.

Occupation 1991 2001 2011
Agriculture 80.3 65.7 60.43
Service 6.1 9.3 8.29
Trade 3.0 7.9 8.07
Production 4.2 1.4 2.22
Technical 1.8 1.4 2.09
Others 4.6 11.5 19.03

The above people shows that majority of the people are engaged in agriculture in all three census. The percentage of the total population of people engaged in agriculture has decreased from 80.35 to 60.43% in 2011 AD. The percentage of the total population involved in the technical field has increased from 1.8 & to 2.09%. Nepal being the underdeveloped country is that because only 2.09% of people are engaged in a technical field which is a very important factor for development.

Population Density

Population composition by age and sex, Nepal, 2011 AD.The age-sex composition of the population can be also expressed in terms of the pyramid. Population pyramid can be defined as the graphical presentation of the age-sex composition of the population. In population pyramid,

the percentage of the male population is presented in a horizontal bar on the right side and the percentage of the female population is also presented in the horizontal bar, but on the left side. Here, the height of the pyramid represents the age. There are various types of the pyramid. The broad-based pyramid represents the age-sex composition of developing countries with high rate population growth and fertility whereas narrow-based pyramid represents developed countries with low fertility and low population growth. Now, let us draw population pyramid from the data of population composition by age and sex of Nepal 2014 AD.

Population density

Population density can be defined as the total number of people living per unit or unit volume. We can also say, population density is the population per unit area or per unit volume. It is used to measure the pressure of population on land. Population density can be calculated by dividing the total population of a place by the total land area of that place.Population Density

Population density = \(\frac{P}{A}\)
P= Population of a place
A= Total land- area of the place

Population density is greatly affected by the environmental aspects like land, water, land topography, climate, vegetation etc. It is also socio- economic factors like industries, education, trade etc. The density of population is more in that area where there is fertile land, education, health, security, industrial centers, highways etc. and density of population is less in those areas where there is no facilities or fewer facilities like education, health, no highways and industrial centers etc. For example, the population density of Mustang is less than the population density of Kathmandu, Nepal. As Kathmandu is the Capital city and Mustang is a village where there is no roads, electricity, education, and health.

Population Density by Ecological Region

Nepal is geographically divided into three development region. They are mountain region, hilly region, and terai region. In these areas, the population is increasing day by day. The most densely populated region is terai region then hilly region and the mountain region.

The population density of this three development region of Nepal is given below:

Ecological Zones 1991 2001 2011
Mountain 28 33 34
Hill 137 167 186
Terai 254 330 392
Nepal 126 157 180

The given table shows that the density of population in the mountain region and hilly region is increasing very slowly. But, the population density of terai region is increasing very rapidly. The population density of terai has increased from 254 persons per square kilometer to 392 persons per square kilometer whereas the population density of mountain has increased from only 28 persons per square kilometer to 34 persons per square kilometer in 2011 AD. The population density of hilly region has increased from 137 persons per square kilometer to 186 persons per square kilometer. The density of population in mountain region is very low because there are fewer facilities, no fertile soil, difficult topography, and less road connection. Similarly, the population density of terai region is more because there are better facilities, fertile soil, good connection of road, a large number of industries etc.

Population Density by Development Region

There are five development regions in Nepal. They are Farwestern development region, Midwestern development region, Western development region, Central development region and Eastern development region. The development region with highest population density is Central development region. The population of central development region is increasing vastly in comparison to other development regions. The population density of central development region has increased from 226 in 1991 AD to 352 per square kilometer in 2011 AD. This is because there are better facilities in central development region than other development regions. The development region with least population density is Midwestern development region. Though, the mid- western development region is the largest development region of Nepal, the population of mid- western development region is very low. This is because, there is less infrastructure for development, less socio- economic activities and less fertile land with less rainfall.

The given table below shows the population density of five development regions of Nepal from 1991 to 2011 AD.

Development Regions 1991 2001 2011
Eastern 156 188 204
Central 226 293 352
Western 128 155 168
Mid- western 57 71 84
Far western 89 122 131
Nepal 126 157 180

Population Density by Place of Residence

The population density by place of residence is increasing day by day. The population density of both of the rural and urban area is increasing. The population density of rural area has increased from 138 to 153-kilometer square. Similarly, the population density of urban was 185 kilometer square in 2001 AD.

Place 2001 2011
Rural 138 153
Urban 985 1,380
Nepal 157 180

Population Distribution

The division of the population according to its political, geographical and administrative division is called population distribution. The arrangement of people living in a particular given area is also known as population distribution. Population distribution helps to do smooth development in every part of the country . Due to the population distribution data, it makes easy to make plan and policies of a country which will help to give proper facilities, services, and accessibility to the people .

  • Population Distribution by Development Region: As we know that Nepal is developing a country. From 1972 the concept of development region was enter in Nepal . From that year, Nepal was divided into five development region. Eastern, Central,Western,Midwestern, and Farwestern.
    Far western and Midwestern development region. Due to the development of different region people who started to live in the region whereas started to leaving the development area which is not developed. The distribution of development region is shown in the table:

Table : Percent Distribution of Population bu Development region . Nepal 2001-2011 AD.


Development Region
Distributionof Land Area ( %)
Distribution of Population (%)
2001 2011
Eastern 19.3 23.09 21.93
Central 18.6 34.09 36.45
Western 20.6 19.74 18.60
Mid-Western 28.8 13.01 13.39
Far Western 13.3 9.47 9.63
Nepal 100.0 100.00 100.00

This table shows that in 2011 AD more than one third Nepalese population live in Central Development Region and less than 10 percent in the Far-western Development Region. It means in central development region there is more facilities, services, and opportunities which are needed by the people. Whereas due lack of facilities, opportunities, and services in a Far western region there are fewer people.

Population Distribution by Ecological Region: According to Nepal's geographical region it is divided into three ecological regions. They are Hill , Terai, and Mountain region. It divided into three region is due to its landform and climatic condition also. We can see in Mountain region lots of mountains and very cold climatic whereas in Hill region there is subtidal climate and fertile land then mountain region but not more the Terai region where they can grow crops . Likewise in Terai region , a climate is hot but land is very fertile due to which lots of cash crop grow from that region .

There is the table which shows ecological regions for the census years 2001 and 2011 AD.

Ecological Region

Distribution of Land Area (%)

Distribution of Population (%)
2001 2011
Mountain 35 7.3 6.73
Hill 42 44.3 43.00
Terai 23 48.4 50.27
Nepal 100 100 100


This table shows that population of Terai region is increasing rapidly. On 2001 AD it was 48.4% whereas in 2011 AD it was 50.27% it. Likewise the population of Hill region id decreasing day by day. In 2001 AD it was 44.3% and in 2011 AD it was 43%It shows due to dense forest and fertile land the population of Terai region is increasing.

  • Population Distribution by Rural-Urban Area : The area which is developed and where we can find the number of people is known as urban area whereas the area which is under developing and in where we can find less number of people is known as Rural area For example Kathmandu and Solukhambu. In both areas, we can find people but the different is that in a rural area we can find transportation, hospital , colleges , electricity , communications etc but in the rural areas there is minimum facilities, modernization and accessible etc. The following table shows the Population distribution by rural-urban areas. on 2001 and in 2011 AD.
Place of Residence

Distribution of Population (%)
2001 2011 2014
Rural area 86.1 83.1 72.8
Urban area 13.9 17.0 27.2
Nepal 100 100 100

The urban population was 13.9% on 2001 AD whereas in 2014 AD the population was 27.2%. It means the population of urban area is decreasing day by day . Whereas in the rural area the population was 86. 1% in 2001 AD and in 2014 AD population decrease to 72.8%. The urbanization process in Nepal is increasing slowly because of migration from the rural to the urban .

Urbanization and its Consequences

According to the development and facilities, there are two types of areas. They are the rural area and urban area. Rural areas are the underdeveloped areas with fewer facilities whereas urban areas are the developed areas with all the facilities needed for citizens. In urban areas, there are good health system, education, transportation system etc. In underdeveloped or developing countries, there are more rural areas than urban areas but in developed countries, there are more urban areas than rural areas. The process of converting rural area to urban area by providing various facilities like of urban area is called urbanization. When facilities like education, transportation, health etc are provided to the rural area then it becomes semi-urban area as well as the urban area. To be the urban area, there should be the provision of facilities like education, health, transportation, pure drinking water, good employment opportunities, etc.

The word Urbanization derived from the latin word 'Urbal' that means civilized society. Urbanization means modernization, industrialization, good social lifestyle, busy people etc. There is more population in urban areas than in rural areas because in urban areas there are better facilities and opportunities. There are mainly three factors in urbanization. They are urban behavior, structure, and demography. Urban behavior means a change in fashion or lifestyle of people living there. Urban structure means a change in economic structure or economic activities. In the urban area, people are involved in business and trade rather than in agriculture. Demography means the concentration of the people in a few localities or areas.

Talking about Nepal, though some of the cities are declared as the urban area, they lack proper facilities that an urban area should have. Though Kathmandu is a main urban area, there are no proper transportation facilities, no employment generation, less health and education facilities, no electricity, shortage of pure drinking water, pollution etc. Rural areas are in bad condition. Plans and policies that are made for converting the rural area into the urban area are not properly implemented. The works are not properly done. Some of the cities of Nepal are declared as the urban area but only by name not by facilities and environment. The rural area represents agriculture, traditional lifestyle, subsistence nature whereas urban area indicates modern lifestyle, trade, and business as economic activities, large markets, good transportation, education and health facilities, proper management of pure drinking water and waste, electricity, busy people etc.

Classification of Urban Areas

Urban areas are classified into the different area on the basis of population size, space, social and economic structure. According to the Municipality, Act 1992 and the local self- governance Act 1999 have categorized the existing municipalities as mahanagarpalika, upa- mahanagarpalika and nagarpalika. These are classified on the basis of population size, facilities, and annual revenue.
To be in the list of upa- Mahanagarpa like, the area should have 1,00,00 minimum population with annual revenue at least Rs. 100 million with facilities of electricity, communication, pure drinking water etc. Similarly to be in the list of Mahanagarpalika, the area should have a minimum population size of 3,00,000 with annual revenue at least Rs. 400 million and all the facilities like proper communication, paved main and subsidiary roads, essential infrastructure for international sports events etc. In Nepal, there are 217 municipalities.

  • Municipality (Nagarpalika): To be in the list of Nagarpalika, the VDCs or area should have minimum population size 20, 00 in the Terai, 10,000 in the hill or mountain region. The annual revenue of the area should be about Rs. 5 million in the terai and 500,000in the hill or the mountain region. The VDCs should have the facilities like electricity, road, drinking water, communication and other similar urban facilities. At present in our country, there are 205 Municipalities.
  • Sub- metropolitan (Upa- Mahanagarpalika): To be in the list of Mahanagarpalika, the area should have the minimum population size of 1,00,000. The annual revenue should be at least Rs. 100 million and it should already receive the status of a nagarpalika. Similarly taking about facilities, it should have facilities of electricity, drinking water, communication, paved roads, education and health services of a high standard. The area should have the general infrastructure for national and international sports events and provision of public parks and city hall.
  • Metropolitan (Mahanagarpalika): To be in the list of Mahanagarpalika, the area should have the minimum population size of 3,00,000. The annual revenue should be at least Rs. 400 million. It should have the facilities like proper facilities of electricity, drinking water, communication, paved main and subsidiary roads. There should be a good provision of health services, essential infrastructure for international sports events. The area should have at least one university with adequate opportunities for higher education in different fields. To be classified as Mahanagarpalika, the area should have already received the status of a Upa- mahanagarpalika.

The given table below shows the name list of Municipalities of Nepal, 2015 AD.

1.Kathmandu 45. Birtamod 89.Garuda 133.Bagchaur 178.Dapcha Kashikhanda
2.Pokhara 46.Siraha 90.Nilkantha 134.Besisahar 179.Dhulikhel
3.Lalitpur 47.Mechinagar 91.Dodhara Chandani 135.Ramgram 180.Saptakoshi
4.Birganj 48.Gulariya 92.Bajrabarahi 136.Melamchi 181.Hanumannagar Joginimai
5.Biratnagar 49.Tikapur 93.Mahagadimai 137.Inaruwa 182.Api
6.Bharatpur 50.Kawasoti 94.Kalika 138.Godawari 183.Sundarbazar
7.Janakpur 51.Khairahani 95.Dhankuta 139.Resunga 184.Krishnanagar
8.Hetauda 52.Bansgadhi 96.Pyuthan 140.Manthali 185.Jayaprithvi
9.Nepalgunj 53.Gaidakot 97.Shuklagandaki 141.Ramdhuni- Bhasi 186.Buddhabatika
10.Itahari 54.Belauri 98.Rajbiraj 142.Rangeli 187.Patan
11.Dharan 55.Rajapur 99.Bhajani-Trishakti 143.Beni 188.Myanglung
12.Butwal 56.Bhadrapur 100.Karyabinayak 144.Panauti 189.Ilam
13.Dhangadhi 57.Shivaraj 101.Anantalingeshwar 145.Madhyabindu 190.Taplejung
14.Budhanilkantha 58.Barahathwa 102.Madhi 146.Katari 191.Chandannath
15.Gokarneshwar 59.Pathari Sanischare 103.Bardibas 147.Bidur 192.Rainas
16.Bhimdatta 60.Bedkot 104.Sukhipur 148.Babai 193.Musikot
17.Tilottama 61.Golbazar 105.Krishnapur 149.Pokhariya 194.Bhanu
18.Tokha 62.Kanchanrup 106.Rampur 150.Suryodaya 195.Sanphebagar
19.Birendranagar 63.Koshi Haraicha 107.Gaur 151.Khandbari 196.Badimalika
20.Kalaiya 64.Byas 108.Nijgadh 152.Dipayal-Silgadhi 197.Bhirkot
21.Tulsipur 65.Dhangadimai 109.Urlabari 153.Sanoshri Taratal 198.Pakhribas
22.Chandagiri 66.Gauradaha 110.Parashuram 154.Bhrikuti 199.Diktel
23.Madhyapur Thimi 67.Rapti 111.Chitrawan 155.Duhabi- Bhaluwa 200.Dasharathchand
24.Bhaktapur 68.Mirchaiya 112.Ganeshman Charanath 156.Shankharapur 201.Laliguras
25.Gadhimai 69.Sainamina 113.Bardaghat 157.Dudhauli 202.Siddhicharan
26.Tarakeshwar 70.Shani- Arjun 114.Lamani 158.Sabaila 203.Anbu kharireni
27.Lahan 71.Dhanusha 115.Panchkal 159.Banepa 204.Bhjpur
28.Damak 72.Jaleshwar 116.Sharada 160.Phidim 205.Kamalbazar
29.Banganga 73.Punarwas 117.Bherimalika 161.Chainpur 206.Chautara
30.Attariya 74.Kapilvastu 118.Sundar Dulari 162.Simraughad 207.Bandipur
31.Lumbini 75.Chireshwarnath 119.Changunarayan 163.Shubhaghat- Gangamala 208.Chaurjahari
32.Chandrapur 76.Devdaha 120.Bheriganga 164.Dakshinkali 209.Madi
33.Triyuga 77.Hariwan 121.Kusma 165.Waling 210.Jiri
34.Ratnanagar 78.Jhalari Pipaladi 122.Gaushala 166.Beltar- Basaha 211.Liwang
35.Lekhnath 79.Tripur 123.Belbari 167.Letang Bhogateni 212.Shadanand
36.Nagarjun 80.Kamalamai 124.Mithila 168.Kolhabi 213.Chapakot
37.Kirtipur 81.Gorkha 125.Devchuli 169.Palumtar 214.Ramechhap
38.Ghorahi 82.Ishwarpur 126.Putlibazar 170.Bhimeshwar 215.Dudhkunda
39.Siddharthanagar 83.Suryabinayak 127.Tansen 171.Mangalsen 216.Deumai
40.Kohalpur 84.Sandhikharke 128.Lalbandi 172.Nagarkot 217.Madhyanepal
41.Mahalakshmi 85.Kankai 129.Baglung 173.Amaragadhi Karaputar
42.Lamki Chuha 86.Narayani 130.Dullu 174.Narayan  
43.Ghodaghodi 87.Sunwal 131.Malangwa 175.Beldandi  
44.Kageshwor 88.Shivasatakshi 132.Shambhunath 176.Thaha

Urbanization Trend, Impact and Urbanization by Regions

Trend of Urbanization in Nepal

Nepal is an underdeveloped or developing country. The urbanization level of Nepal is very low. According to the State of World Population 2011, more than (50%) of people live in urban areas in the world. It is found that 45% of the population live in urban areas in less developed countries whereas only 29% of people live in urban areas in the least developed countries. Talking about Nepal, Nepal lies in the list of least developed countries or least urbanized countries.

The urbanization level of SAARC countries according to the State of World Population 2011 is given below in table,

Name of Countries Urbanization level
Nepal 29%
India 30%
Maldives 41.2%
Bhutan 35%
Bangladesh 29%
Afghanistan 23%
Sri- Lanka 15.1%
Pakistan 36.2%

The above-given table shows that the SAARC countries with the least urbanization level are Sri- Lanka with 15.1% and highest urbanization level is Maldives with 41.2%. Similarly, the urbanization level of Bhutan and Bangladesh is 35% and 29% respectively. The countries with the highest urbanization level with 100% in the world are Singapore, Nauru, Monaco, Macau, Hongkong, Vatican City, Bermuda, Anguilla, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.

In Nepal, about 29% of people lived in 130 designated urban areas or municipalities in 2014 AD. Currently, about 7.2 million live in such areas The annual growth rate of urban population is 8% though the urbanization level of Nepal is very low. It is due to the declaration of new municipalities areas during the intercensal periods. The population of Nepal is increasing day by day. The population of Nepal has increased from 8.3 million to 26.4 million in last three decades. From 1952\54 to 1971, the urban population has increased from 3 to 4.2 percent. Since the eighties, the growth has accelerated from 6.8% to 16.2%. Since from the 1950s, the population of urban areas has increased from 2.38 lakhs to 3.23 million. This is also due to the addition of 48 new municipalities since from the 1950s. The number of urban areas or municipalities as of October 2014 is 130. In 1952/54 there were only 10 municipalities but it has increased up to 217 in 2015 AD.

The trend of urbanization in Nepal, since from 1952/54 to 2015 AD is given below in table:

Census Year Urban units Urban population Urban population (%) Urban PGR (%)
1952/54 10 238,275 2.9 --
1961 16 336,222 3.6 4.53
1971 16 461,938 4.0 3.23
1981 23 461,938 6.4 7.55
1991 33 1,695,719 9.2 5.89
2001 58 3,695,719 13.9 6.65
2011 58 4,523,820 17.1 3.38
2014 130 7,199,514 27.2 8.02
2014 191 -- -- --
2015 217 -- -- --

Since from 2011 to 2014, there was the addition of 72 new municipalities. Here, the population has increased by 2, 675, 694. The urban population as a percentage of the total population of the country reached 17.2% in 2011 AD and with new declarations there has been an in- situ urbanization of (10%). Following a similar pattern, the urban population as a percentage reached (27.2%) in May 2014 AD. The growing urban areas indicate the positive growth or development of the country. Recently Nepal has made a decision to declare 72 new municipalities with adding 10% to the urban population. This indicates that Nepal is planning to make its urbanization level largely on par with other South Asian countries. The government of Nepal is planning to upgrade the nation's status from least developed country to a developing one by 2022 AD. The population in the developed country is less in the urban and the growth rate is higher that of their nation. From the census data since 1961 AD, it is unclear that the population growth rate of the urban place of the average growth rate nation.The average gap between the urban population growth rate and the national growth rate is 3.4 percentage points. It ranges from 1.11 percentage points in the 1971 AD to as high as 6.67 percentage point in 2014 AD. It was noticed that the higher gaps between national and urban growth rate are largely explained by the increase in the number of urban places compared with the census of 2011 AD. For example, On 1971 AD there were 16 urban places and 7 more were added to the list in 1981 AD. In the same time, some VDCs existed and municipalities were annexed in the respective municipalities . In 1991 AD there were 33 municipalities and by 2001 AD the number reaches 58. Furthermore, in 2014 AD, After the census results were published, and again added 72 municipalities were declared and in turn increasing the total number of urban place to 130.

Urbanization by Ecological and Development Regions

Urbanization is concerned with population concentration. There are more urban areas in plain and hilly areas than in mountain areas. There are less urban areas in mountain region because of the difficult land topography, fewer facilities, and many other things. Similarly, there are more urban areas in terai region because, the land topography is simple and easy, Here, facilities can be easily provided. Developmental activities can also be carried out easily. So, it is easy to establish urban areas in terai region than in mountain region.

There are more urban areas in terai region, followed by hilly region and then mountain region.

Ecological Region

Development Region Total
Mountain 3 2 0 1 2 8 6.1
Hill 11 14 17 5 5 52 40.0
Terai 23 19 15 6 7 70 53.9
Nepal 37 35 32 12 14 130 100

The above table shows that there are 130 municipalities altogether in Nepal. The distribution of the population in different urban areas of different ecological areas are different. Only 8 municipalities are located in Mountain region whereas 70 municipalities are located in Terai region. Eastern region ranks first with 28.5% percent (37 municipalities), then central region with 27%. Western Development Region and Mid- Western Development Region has 32 and 12 municipalities respectively.

Impact of Urbanization on Population and Environment

Urbanization means conversion of the rural area into urban areas. In urban areas, there are various industries. There are also more commercial activities. There are more trade and business. In urban areas, there are all the facilities like transportation, health, education, communication etc. and they are in the process of further development. Due to this, people from rural areas migrate to urban areas in search of good facilities like health, communication etc. There are better employment opportunities in urban areas. But, unplanned urbanization results from adverse effects in health, communication, sanitation, food etc. In unplanned urbanization, there is rapid population growth. It also affects the natural environment.

Impact of Urbanization on Population

Positive Impact of Urbanization on Population

  • It makes easy access to health and education.
  • There are better employment opportunities.
  • It uplifts living standard of the people.
  • It helps to change occupation or profession
  • It helps to improve status of female
  • People get opportunity to develop their inherent strength and quality
  • Increases the awareness level of the people.

Negative Impact of Urbanization on Population

  • It creates a shortage of food, drinking water, and shelter.
  • It increases pollution.
  • It increases crowdedness and population density.
  • It causes health problems.
  • Fewer employment opportunities
  • Increases criminal activities
  • Increases pressure on school and health facilities.
  • Less peace and security due to crowdedness and more population density.

Impact of Urbanization on Environment

Positive Impact of Urbanization on Environment

  • Increases awareness about the importance and conservation of natural resources.
  • It motivates people for the conservation of environment and ecology.
  • Sustainable development

Negative Impact of Urbanization on Environment

  • It causes environmental pollution.
  • Improper management of solid and liquid waste.
  • Causes deforestation.
  • Degrades the strength and scope of natural resources.
  • Increases negative interaction of man with the environment.
  • It imbalances ecosystem.