Aminul Islam, Geospatial Consultant
Bangladesh is one of the most populated countries in the world with 161 million (16 crore) people living in an area of 55,598 sq. mi. which is similar to that of New York state of USA; yet it has 8 times more population than the New York state. It is therefore a common perception that Bangladesh has the lowest demographic status in the world - packed with people, plenty of baby boomers and horny men; and it's not getting any better anytime soon. But the geo-statistics show us different perspectives. There are seven countries which are more populated (in terms of number of people) than this flood plain nation. Nine small city states and island nations have more population density than Bangladesh (1237/sq.km.). Yes it is a densely populated nation, however, the population growth of Bangladesh has declined considerably from 3.4% in 1967 (during the baby booming period) to 1.2% in 2015. Today there are 106 countries that have more population growth rate than Bangladesh. But still all these stats can't make Bangladesh feel good about itself, because it is extremely populated - NO PRIVACY AT ALL!
Okay, let's keep aside all those feel good maps, rather let's have a look at how Bangladesh has been doing in population control. Look at the following graph that shows population growth history of countries that have more population than Bangladesh, an optimistic scene emerges. Despite the country experienced a major decline in population growth during 1971-1973 period due to the war with Pakistan in 1971 and subsequent migration, the growth rate started to rise up from 1974. The growth peaked during 1977-1988 period (about 2.75%) and started to go downslope dramatically due to strong family planning initiatives by the government and NGOs which is still continuing today. Compared to neighboring India and Pakistan, Bangladesh has the lowest growth rate (1.19%), which is slightly higher by ~0.4% than the United States and Brazil, and by 0.7% than the China. However, on the side note need to mention that Nigeria on the other hand is experiencing a dramatic increasing trend (about 4% in 2015) possibly due to the rapid economic growth, largely driven by the mining industries, that facilitated population boom and incoming migration.
Despite all the odds such as high population and immense population density (and poverty, of course), Bangladesh has managed to bring down the population growth rate at incredible pace since 80's which is still continuing today. Guess what - what is the economic life line of this country? Yes garments garments garments, may be you are wearing one with 'Made in Bangladesh' neck-tag right now. But most importantly it's the population - a massive young human resource bank that is the key to it's rapid development over past two decades. Bangladesh is one of the largest exporters of human resource in the world.
To know more about other amazing achievements of Bangladesh over last 55 years (since independence), may check out Hans Rosling's famous presentation here. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.
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