Afghanistan Population 2019
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.
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|