Last Census - 1979
The history of Afghanistan’s population has been accompanied by aborted Censuses as a backdrop to war and as such, any attempt to gauge the population of Afghanistan in 2013 is currently based on estimates. However, it is widely accepted that the country has recently surpassed 31 million residents.
Afghanistan Population 2013
Based on recent growth estimates, the 2013 population is 31,140,268 which is a significant increase from the figures quoted in 1979 that suggested 15.5 million people resided in the country. If that estimate is correct then Afghanistan would be the 40th most populous country in the world. Around 10% of the population lives in the capital city Kabul. Kabul's 2013 population is estimated at just over 3 million, making it the only city in Afghanistan with a population greater than 400,000.
Afghanistan Population History
In 1979, a countrywide census was due to take place but owing to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan it was never completed. Early indications however 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 and while this was a serious blow to the economic situation within the country, Abdul Sakhri, vice-president of the central statistics office confirmed that there was no other option than to abort the survey.
The cabinet had no choice than to postpone the project because it was deemed too risky,” he confirmed.
“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 31,140,268 in 2013 equates to a population density of 47.7 people per square kilometre or 123.7 per square mile and this would make Afghanistan the 150th most dense country in the world.
As you would expect, there is a diverse range of ethnic groups within the country and their influx has helped to almost double estimated figures since 1979. Of the 30 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.
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.
Afghanistan Population Projections
Sadly, a structured census seems to be some way in the future but for now, those estimates tell an interesting story with regard to the growing Afghanistan population. The 2013 Afghanistan Population's growth is estimated at 3.27%, making it one of the fastest growing countries in the world.