Afghanistan Population 2019

38,168,285

Afghanistan's population is estimated at 38.04 million in 2019 based on the most recent UN data. It's unclear how accurate these estimates may be, given that the last census was nearly 40 years ago in 1979. This census estimated the population at 15.5 million.

If the current estimate is correct, then Afghanistan would be the 37th most populous country in the world, overtaking Morocco's population ranking in 2018. Afghanistan is now just behind Canada in the world population lineup.

Afghanistan Area and Population Density

The 2015 estimated figure of 32 million in 251,830 square miles (652,237 square kilometers), equates to a population density of 49 people per square kilometer or 127 per square mile. This makes Afghanistan the 150th most densely populated country in the world.

Largest Cities in Afghanistan

Most Afghans live in rural areas in tribal and kinship groups. Around 10% of the population lives in the capital city, Kabul. Kabul's 2015 population is estimated at 3.1 million, which makes it the only Afghan city with a population of more than 1 million. The second-largest city is Kandahar, with less than 400,000 people.

Afghanistan Demographics

As you would expect, there is a diverse range of ethnic groups within the country. Of the 31 million or so Afghan residents, 42% are Pashtun, 27% Tajik, 9% Hazara, 9% Uzbek, 4% Aimak, 3% Turkmen, 2% Baloch and 4% fall into an unspecified "other" group. The Afghan government recently began issuing ID cards that state the ethnicity of each citizen, which should eventually reveal more precise numbers about the many ethnic groups in the country.

Pashto and Dari are the official languages. Dari is spoken in mostly Tajik and Hazara areas, while Pashto is mostly spoken in Pashtun areas. Turkmen and Uzbek are spoken in the northern regions of the country. Many residents of the country are multilingual.

Afghanistan Religion, Economy and Politics

Muslims account for 99% of the population of Afghanistan, with between 80% and 89% practicing Sunni Islam while 10-19% are Shia. There are zero public Christian churches in Afghanistan.

As far as the ages of the population are concerned, this is another significant factor and one that is contributing to a rise in numbers overall. At the start of 2012, it was claimed that just 2.4% of all Afghan citizens were aged over 65.

The infant mortality rate is currently at 110 deaths per 1,000 births, with a birth rate of 37.9 born per 1,000 population. The 2018 fertility rate is at 5.12 children born per woman.

Clean drinking water and improved sanitation access are two points of interest for basic daily living, and Afghanistan is struggling to get these necessary resources up to par. As of 2015, only 55% of the population has access to clean drinking water and only 31% have access to improved sanitation facilities.

Literacy among the population of Afghanistan is only at 38.2% of the population over the age of 15 years, with males at 52% and females at 24%.

Afghanistan Population History

In 1979, a countrywide census was due to take place, but because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it was never completed. However, early indications pointed to the figure of 15.5 million citizens that have already been quoted.

More recently in 2008, a further census was canceled due to security fears. While this was a serious blow to the economic situation within the country, Abdul Sakhri, vice-president of the central statistics office deemed the project "too risky". He is quoted as saying,...

"Sadly, it hits where help is needed the most - in the war-torn southern regions. We were planning to track each village's humanitarian needs - for instance, water supply or educational requirements - as well as the population. It's a huge missed opportunity".

Afghanistan Population Growth

Large families are very traditional in Afghanistan, as large families- especially ones containing males is a source of respect. The mindset is that the larger the family, the larger the influence and the more children there will be to work. The health of both children and mothers is sub-optimal and large families give greater insurance toward a family's longevity. The average Afghan woman presently gives birth to 6.6 children, causing the country's rapid growth rate, as birth control is extremely rare for religious reasons.

Afghanistan Population Projections

The rate of growth is expected to hit its peak around 2020 and then decline fairly rapidly. The 2020 rate of 2.44% is projected to be cut more than in half by 2050. The population is projected to be 38,054,941 in 2020, and 46,699,545 by 2030.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 26 seconds
One death every 2 minutes
One net migrant every 8 minutes
Net gain of one person every 35 seconds

Afghanistan Population in 2018Source: By Staff Sgt. Matthew Moeller (U.S. Armed Forces) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Afghanistan Population Growth

Sadly, a structured census seems to be some way in the future but for now, the estimates predict continued growth for Afghanistan's population. The United Nations projects that Afghanistan's population will surge to 56.5 million by 2050.

Official NameIslamic Republic of Afghanistan
Languages SpokenDari, Pashto, Turkmen
Is LandlockedYes
Latitude/Longitude3365
Currencies UsedAfghanistan Afghani
DemonymAfghan
Name Population Location
Kabul3,043,532Map
Kandahar391,190Map
Mazar-e Sharif303,282Map
Herat272,806Map
Jalalabad200,331Map
Kunduz161,902Map
Ghazni141,000Map
Balkh114,883Map
Baghlan108,449Map
Gardez103,601Map
Khost96,123Map
Maymana75,900Map
Khanabad71,531Map
Bazarak65,000Map
Khulm64,933Map
Taloqan64,256Map
Bamyan61,863Map
Pul-e Khumri56,369Map
Shibirghan55,641Map
Charikar53,676Map

Afghanistan Population Clock

The population of Afghanistan (as of 8/20/2019)?38,168,285
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2019)38,041,754
Births Per Day3,309
Deaths Per Day657
Net Migrations Per Day -171
Net Change Per Day 2,481
Population Change Since January 1st575,592

Afghanistan Population Estimator

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Estimate as of August 20th 2019 is: 38,163,205

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
201938,041,75451.34%48.66%58.33372.34%
201837,171,92151.36%48.64%56.99382.41%
201736,296,11351.39%48.61%55.65392.58%
201635,383,03251.40%48.60%54.25392.82%
201534,413,60351.39%48.61%52.76403.35%
201029,185,50751.18%48.82%44.75402.61%
200525,654,27751.61%48.39%39.33454.30%
200020,779,95351.44%48.56%31.86482.79%
199518,110,65751.86%48.14%27.77507.85%
199012,412,30851.12%48.88%19.03570.78%
198511,938,20851.03%48.97%18.3056-2.22%
198013,356,51150.82%49.18%20.48511.03%
197512,689,16050.80%49.20%19.46482.58%
197011,173,64250.99%49.01%17.13482.33%
19659,956,32051.27%48.73%15.27472.05%
19608,996,97351.68%48.32%13.79481.70%
19558,270,99152.22%47.78%12.68481.30%
19507,752,11852.88%47.12%11.89460.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202038,928,34651.32%48.68%59.68370.00%
202543,531,51951.25%48.75%66.74362.26%
203048,093,57851.18%48.82%73.74352.01%
203552,587,40851.11%48.89%80.63331.80%
204056,912,00951.03%48.97%87.26321.59%
204560,974,11350.95%49.05%93.49311.39%
205064,682,97450.85%49.15%99.17321.19%
205567,992,20250.75%49.25%104.25301.00%
206070,844,69450.63%49.37%108.62300.83%
206573,185,29550.51%49.49%112.21300.65%
207074,975,40750.37%49.63%114.95300.48%
207576,199,34650.24%49.76%116.83290.32%
208076,870,22550.12%49.88%117.86300.18%
208577,016,25750.02%49.98%118.08310.04%
209076,692,97449.94%50.06%117.5933-0.08%
209575,974,25649.89%50.11%116.4836-0.19%
  1. Guide to Russia
  2. The Guardian
  3. International Religious Freedom Report (2013)
  4. Central Statistics Organization
  5. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 1979 census and 2003-05 Household listing, with the associated population by age and sex based on a 1/200 household sample from the 2003-05 Household listing, the 2007/08 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Survey, the 2011 MICS4 survey, the 2014 ALCS estimate (including 1.5 million nomads), and with with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration. The 2010 AMS sample was also considered. The 1979 census enumerated the settled population only; an attempt was made to adjusted for the number of Kuchi (nomads), reported to be about 800,000 at the times.

  6. GeoNames Gazetteer