Afghanistan Population 2018

36,638,168

Afghanistan's population is estimated at 36.37 million in 2018 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 39th most populous country in the world, overtaking Morocco's population ranking in 2018. Afghanistan is now just behind Canada in the world population lineup.

Capital of Afghanistan and Largest Cities

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 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 has already been quoted.

More recently in 2008, a further census was cancelled 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 Density and Demographics

The estimated figure of 32 million in 2015 equates to a population density of 49 people per square kilometre or 127 per square mile. This makes Afghanistan the 150th most densely populated country in the world.

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.

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.

Life Expectancy and Quality of Life

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%.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 27 seconds
One death every 2 minutes
One net migrant every 9 minutes
Net gain of one person every 37 seconds

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

Population Data via United Nations WPP (2015 Revision, Medium Variant)

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.

About Afghanistan

Official NameIslamic Republic of Afghanistan
Languages SpokenDari, Pashto, Turkmen
Is LandlockedYes
Latitude/Longitude3365
Currencies UsedAfghanistan Afghani
DemonymAfghan

Afghanistan Population Density

Afghanistan Top 20 Cities by Population

Name Population
Kabul3,043,532
Kandahar391,190
Mazar-e Sharif303,282
Herat272,806
Jalalabad200,331
Kunduz161,902
Ghazni141,000
Balkh114,883
Baghlan108,449
Gardez103,601
Khost96,123
Maymana75,900
Khanabad71,531
Bazarak65,000
Khulm64,933
Taloqan64,256
Bamyan61,863
Pul-e Khumri56,369
Shibirghan55,641
Charikar53,676

Afghanistan Population Clock

The population of Afghanistan (as of 10/20/2018)?36,638,168
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2018)36,373,176
Births Per Day3,171
Deaths Per Day641
Net Migrations Per Day -164
Net Change Per Day 2,366
Population Change Since January 1st693,238

Afghanistan Population Estimator

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Estimate as of October 20th 2018 is: 36,627,360

Afghanistan Population by Year (Historical)

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
201836,373,17651.51%48.49%55.77392.37%
201735,530,08151.53%48.47%54.47402.52%
201634,656,03251.55%48.45%53.13402.73%
201533,736,49451.55%48.45%51.72403.21%
201028,803,16751.38%48.62%44.16422.81%
200525,070,79851.73%48.27%38.44454.53%
200020,093,75651.49%48.51%30.81493.28%
199517,099,54151.75%48.25%26.22516.90%
199012,249,11451.17%48.83%18.78580.78%
198511,783,05051.07%48.93%18.0756-2.32%
198013,248,37050.85%49.15%20.31511.02%
197512,590,28650.82%49.18%19.30482.50%
197011,126,12351.00%49.00%17.06482.28%
19659,938,41451.28%48.72%15.24472.01%
19608,996,35151.68%48.32%13.79481.70%
19558,270,58152.22%47.78%12.68481.30%
19507,752,11852.88%47.12%11.89450.00%

Afghanistan Population by Year (Projections)

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202038,054,94151.46%48.54%58.35370.00%
202542,388,40051.38%48.62%64.99372.18%
203046,699,54551.29%48.71%71.60351.96%
203550,907,55051.21%48.79%78.05361.74%
204054,914,12251.11%48.89%84.19321.53%
204558,614,31551.01%48.99%89.87331.31%
205061,928,11850.89%49.11%94.95331.11%
205564,833,86950.76%49.24%99.40310.92%
206067,307,30350.62%49.38%103.20310.75%
206569,312,24050.47%49.53%106.27310.59%
207070,828,56250.31%49.69%108.59330.43%
207571,835,18750.15%49.85%110.14340.28%
208072,324,43549.99%50.01%110.89350.14%
208572,356,27649.85%50.15%110.94360.01%
209071,993,32049.73%50.27%110.3838-0.10%
209571,316,11649.65%50.35%109.3440-0.19%
Data Sources
  1. Guide to Russia
  2. The Guardian
  3. International Religious Freedom Report (2013)
  4. Central Statistics Organization
  5. World Population Prospects (2017 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