Flag of Bangladesh

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Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.


Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

Geographic coordinates:

24 00 N, 90 00 E


total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km


580 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguoul shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin


tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)


mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m

Natural resources:

natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Land use:

arable land: 55.39%
permanent crops: 3.08%
other: 41.53% (2005)

Irrigated land:

47,250 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season

Environment - current issues:

many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation

Geography - note:

most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal


147,365,352 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 32.9% (male 24,957,997/female 23,533,894)
15-64 years: 63.6% (male 47,862,774/female 45,917,674)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 2,731,578/female 2,361,435) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 22.2 years
male: 22.2 years
female: 22.2 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.09% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

29.8 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.27 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.16 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 60.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 62.46 years
male: 62.47 years
female: 62.45 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.11 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people with HIV/AIDS:

13,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

650 (2001 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies (2005)


noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi

Ethnic groups:

Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)


Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)


Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 43.1%
male: 53.9%
female: 31.8% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
former: East Pakistan

Government type:

parliamentary democracy



Administrative divisions:

6 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet


16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh

National holiday:

Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh


4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986; amended many times

Legal system:

based on English common law


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies (the constitutional amendment reserving 30 seats for women over and above the 300 regular parliament seats expired in May 2001); members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 1 October 2001 (next to be held no later than January 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - BNP and alliance partners 41%, AL 40%; seats by party - BNP 193, AL 58, JI 17, JP (Ershad faction) 14, IOJ 2, JP (Manzur) 4, other 12; note - the election of October 2001 brought a majority BNP government aligned with three other smaller parties - JI, IOJ, and Jatiya Party (Manzur)

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)

Economy - overview:

Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation. Although half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, inadequate port facilities, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, delays in exploiting energy resources (natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Reform is stalled in many instances by political infighting and corruption at all levels of government. Progress also has been blocked by opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups. The BNP government, led by Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA, has the parliamentary strength to push through needed reforms, but the party's political will to do so has been lacking in key areas. One encouraging note: growth has been a steady 5% for the past several years.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$301.4 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$63.39 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.4% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 20.5%
industry: 26.7%
services: 52.8% (2004 est.)

Labor force:

66.6 million
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances estimated at $1.71 billion in 1998-99 (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 63%
industry: 11%
services: 26% (FY95/96)

Unemployment rate:

2.5% (includes underemployment) (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

45% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 28.6% (1995-96 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

31.8 (2000)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.7% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

24.6% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $5.993 billion
expenditures: $8.598 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

46.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry


cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar

Industrial production growth rate:

6.7% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

17.42 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

16.2 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

6,825 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - consumption:

84,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

28.45 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - production:

1.9 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

11.9 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

300.2 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

-$591 million (2005 est.)


$9.372 billion (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood (2001)

Exports - partners:

US 22.4%, Germany 14.5%, UK 11.2%, France 6.9%, Italy 4% (2004)


$12.97 billion (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement (2000)

Imports - partners:

India 15.1%, China 12.5%, Singapore 7.5%, Kuwait 5.5%, Japan 5.3%, Hong Kong 4.5% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3.45 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$21.25 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$1.575 billion (2000 est.)

Currency (code):

taka (BDT)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June

Telephones - main lines in use:

831,000 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

2,781,600 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: totally inadequate for a modern country
domestic: modernizing; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
international: country code - 880; satellite earth stations - 6; international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighboring countries (2005)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 15, FM 13, shortwave 2 (2006)

Television broadcast stations:

15 (1999)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

266 (2005)

Internet users:

300,000 (2005)


16 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 5 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)


gas 2,012 km (2004)


total: 2,706 km
broad gauge: 884 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,822 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)


total: 239,226 km
paved: 22,726 km
unpaved: 216,500 km (2003)


8,372 km
note: includes 5,635 km main cargo routes; network reduced to 5,200 km in dry season (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 44 ships (1000 GRT or over) 360,053 GRT/511,789 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 30, container 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4
foreign-owned: 11 (China 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 9)
registered in other countries: 11 (Antigua and Barbuda 4, Comoros 1, Malta 3, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Singapore 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Chittagong, Mongla Port

Military branches:

Army, Navy, Air Force

Disputes - international:

discussions with India remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, exchange 162 miniscule enclaves in both countries, allocate divided villages, and stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh resists India's attempts to fence or wall off high-traffic sections of the porous boundary; a joint Bangladesh-India boundary inspection in 2005 revealed 92 pillars are missing; dispute with India over New Moore/South Talpatty/Purbasha Island in the Bay of Bengal deters maritime boundary delimitation; Burmese Muslim refugees strain Bangladesh's meager resources

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 20,402 (Burma)
IDPs: 61,000 (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries