Bangladesh Demography and Topography
Demographic Features :
According to 1991 census about 111.455 million people inhabit Bangladesh. Thanks to the thrust given by the present government - population growth rates has come down to about 1.8 percent with a crude birth rate of about 40 per thousand and a crude death rate of 16 per thousand. The male-female ratio is 107:100 and the broad age structure is 0-14 years: 45 percent; 15-64 years : 51 percent and 65 years and above : 4 percent. The dependency ratio calculated on the basis of these data, 49:5 1 is accurate if we take the entire population of the 15-64 age group as active. But the problem of widespread unemployment allows only 60 percent of the potential labour force to be actually employed. Consequently, the actual dependency ratio stands at about 4:1 compared to about 3:2 in the developed market economies of Japan, North America and Europe.
The distribution of this population is almost even throughout the 64 districts, except for the 3 districts into which the former larger district of Chittagong Hill Tracts has been divided. Regionally, the eastern districts are slightly more densely populated than the western ones.
The standard of education and health of the population has been gradually improving, although the educational level is yet unsatisfactory, with a literacy rate of only 35.5 percent of the population. The improvement of health condition is indicated by the obliteration of major epidemic diseases like smallpox, cholera and malaria which were the great killers during Colonial days.
Family planning has been gaining ground since the inception of the government's programme in 1972 and the birth rate has been declining. With the limited land area that inhibits progress in agriculture many economists see industrial development as the way of the country's economic progress. A fillip to domestic saving could well be provided by population control through family planning. This could possibly limit the volume of consumption at the family level thus leaving a larger share of the family's income as saving for use as capital for development. Hence the emphasis on reducing the birth rate which has already shown a declining trend.
Topographically Bangladesh may be divided into alluvial plains and hilly areas. More than 90 percent of the total area of Bangladesh is low land, an alluvial plain formed by the sediments of the several great rivers and their tributaries and distributaries which traverse the country. There are, however, some local variations in the nature and extent of the plain land.
Low hills are found in the north-eastern extremities of Bangladesh, east of Comilla. These are part or extension of the Khasia-Garo-Jainta and the Tippera Hills of India. But the more important hilly areas arc concentrated in the Chittagong hill districts which are geologically the offshoots of the Arakan Yoma running through Eastern India to Burma. The Chittagong Hills are steep sloped parallel ranges, largely covered with tropical forests. These Hills rise steeply to narrow ridge lines, generally no wider than 120 feet and no higher than 2000 to 3000 feet. The highest hill in Bangladesh is Keokradang (4,034 feet) in the south-east end of Bandarban district.
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