Country Listing

Nepal Table of Contents


Population Density

One of the major consequences of rapid population growth was the progressive deterioration of the ratio of people to land. This land shortage greatly affected Nepal's predominantly agrarian society, where land was the most important source of livelihood and social status, and it was most evident in terms of population density. In 1981 the population density was 102 persons per square kilometer of total land. Although the ratio appears to suggest a fairly low density, the figures are misleading. When density is measured in terms of persons per hectare of cultivatable land (that is agricultural density), the true nature of the human-land ratio emerges. The agricultural density in 1981 was 6.1 persons per hectare (or almost 0.2 hectare per person), which represents a very high density, especially given that the country's production technology remains in a backward state (see table 3, Appendix). Nepal's ability to reclaim more land in order to accommodate a rapidly growing population already had reached a maximum threshold.

Data as of September 1991