Population of Afghanistan 2012
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 2012 is currently based on estimates. However, it is widely accepted that the country is currently home to something approaching 30 million residents.
Based on the most recent set of figures published in 2011, the population of Afghanistan at the time was 29,835,392 which was a significant increase on the figures quoted in 1979 which suggested that 15.5 million people resided in the country. If that estimate is correct then Afghanistan would be the 42nd most populous country in the world.
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.
“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”.
Density and Demographics
The estimated figure of 29,835,392 in 2011 equates to a population density of 43.5 people per square kilometre or 111.8 per square mile and this would make Afghanistan the 150th largest country in this respect.
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 per cent are Pashtun, 27 per cent Tajik, 9 per cent Hazara, 9 per cent Uzbek, 4 per cent Aimak, 3 per cent Turkmen, 2 per cent Baloch and 4 per cent 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 per cent of all Afghan citizens were aged over 65.
The population of Afghanistan in 2012 is estimated to be 30,419,928 which is another sizeable increase on 2011’s numbers. 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.