Afghanistan Population 2015

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 2015 is currently based on estimates. However, it is widely accepted that Afghanistan has recently surpassed 32 million residents.

Afghanistan Population 2015

Based on recent growth estimates, the 2015 population is 32.006 million, which is a significant increase from the figures quoted in 1979 that suggested 15.5 million people resided in the country. It is even a sizable from the 2014 estimate of 31 million. If the current estimate is correct, then Afghanistan would be the 40th most populous country in the world, falling after Morocco.

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, and only other city in the country with more than 500,000 people, is Kandahar.

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."

"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 and their influx has helped to almost double estimated figures since 1979. 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.

Islam accounts for 99% of the population of Afghanistan, with between 80% and 89% practicing Sunni Islam while 10-19% are Shia.

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 Sex Ratio 2015

50.687% Male
49.313% Female

Population Data via United Nations WPP

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.

Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations
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