Last Census - 2011
Bangladesh is a large and heavily densely populated country with numbers that have either exceeded or are approaching the 159.5 million mark, depending on which estimates you currently believe.
Bangladesh 2011 Census
The last official census in the country was carried out in 2011 although confirmed figures are yet to be released. Estimates here suggest that the Bangladesh population stood at 148 million while an approximation from the CIA in July of that year indicated that numbers were more likely to be significantly higher at 158,570,535.
Based on the CIA estimate, Bangladesh would be the 8th most populous country in the world and population density figures make for interesting reading too. In terms of land mass, Bangladesh is only the 94th largest country in the world with a surface area of 147,570 square kilometres (56,977 square miles) but it certainly makes up for its size through its density statistics. For every square kilometre of land there is an average of 964.42 people here. That converts to 2,497.4 per square mile and it makes the country the 9th largest in terms of density alone.
Bangladesh Population History
Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971 and a nationwide census at the time confirmed that there were 71 million people living here. In 1980, the Bangladesh population had grown to 90.4 million and similar rises have been recorded on a decade by decade basis ever since. In 2009, the OECD / World Bank suggested that the numbers here had reached 162 million but with so many disputed figures around, it is hard to even make a guess at the Bangladesh population in 2014.
The 2011 dispute
The nationwide census in the country took place in March of 2011 and preliminary results claimed that the population of Bangladesh at the time was 142.3 million. This was immediately disputed by the UN and was subsequently dismissed by the Bangladesh authorities themselves. Some suggest, therefore, that the estimate of 158 million from the CIA was likely to be more accurate.
98% of the Bangladesh population are ethnic Bengalis with the remaining 2% made up from Biharis and other ethnic tribes. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, the birth rate in Bangladesh was among the highest in the world but that started to slow down considerably in the 1980’s.
Bangladesh Population Projections
Census figures are clearly hard to obtain and collate but it seems that it is generally agreed that the Bangladesh population in 2012 had actually fallen since 2009. Natural growth statistics are also hard to pin down and overall there is a very confusing picture here that won’t be cleared up until actual figures can somehow be confirmed.