Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh (People’s Republic of Bangladesh)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Dhaka

  • Population estimate, 2015: 161.00 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 3,191

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.570/142

  • Internet domain extension: .bd

Civil Aviation

There are international airports at Dhaka (Hazrat Shahjalal) and Chittagong, and eight domestic airports. Biman Bangladesh Airlines was state-owned until July 2007 when it became a public limited company. In 2009 Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport handled 4,254,427 passengers (3,657,449 on international flights) and 147,239 tonnes of freight. In 2012 scheduled airline traffic of Bangladesh-based carriers flew 67.9 m. km; passenger-km totalled 8.1 bn. in the same year.


A tropical monsoon climate with heat, extreme humidity and heavy rainfall in the monsoon season, from June to Oct. The short winter season (Nov.–Feb.) is mild and dry. Rainfall varies between 50″ (1,250 mm) in the west to 100″ (2,500 mm) in the southeast and up to 200″ (5,000 mm) in the northeast. Dhaka, Jan. 66 °F (19 °C), July 84 °F (28.9 °C). Annual rainfall 81″ (2,025 mm). Chittagong, Jan. 66 °F (19 °C), July 81 °F (27.2 °C). Annual rainfall 108″ (2,831 mm).

Constitution and Government

Bangladesh is a unitary republic. The Constitution came into force on 16 Dec. 1972 and provides for a parliamentary democracy. The head of state is the President, elected by parliament every 5 years, who appoints a Vice-President. A referendum of Sept. 1991 was in favour of abandoning the executive presidential system and opted for a parliamentary system. There is a Council of Ministers to assist the President. The President appoints ministers. A 2011 constitutional amendment provided for a single-chamber parliament of 350 members, 300 directly elected every 5 years and 50 reserved for women, elected by the 300 MPs based on proportional representation in parliament. There have been 16 amendments to the Constitution altogether.


The unit of currency is the taka (BDT) of 100 poisha, which was floated in 1976.


The supreme command of defence services is vested in the president. Defence expenditure in 2013 totalled US$1,652 m. (US$10 per capita), representing 1.2% of GDP.


In 2011 agriculture accounted for 18% of GDP, industry 28% and services 54%.


In 2010 the economically active workforce totalled 56,651,000 over the age of 15 years (39,477,000 males). The main areas of activity (in 1,000) were as follows: agriculture, forestry and fishing, 25,727; wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods, 7,557; manufacturing, 6,737; transportation and storage, 3,983; construction, 2,617. In 2010, 4.5% of the workforce aged 15 or over were unemployed. For the 5-year period 2007–12 the National Minimum Wage Board established the minimum monthly wage at Tk.1,500 (equivalent to US$19) for all economic sectors not covered by industry-specific wages. The Ministry of Labor raised the minimum wage in the garment industry from Tk.1,662 (US$21) per month to Tk.3,000 (US$37) per month in 2010, but this still ranks among the lowest of any country. Bangladesh had 0.34 m. people living in slavery according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2013 Global Slavery Index, the tenth highest total of any country.


In 2008 there were 430 paid-for daily newspapers with a combined circulation of 1.5 m.


In 2005 there were 2,855 km of railways, comprising 660 km of 1,676 mm gauge, 1,830 km of metre gauge and 365 km of dual gauge. Passenger-km travelled in 2008 came to 402.4 m. and freight tonne-km to 952 m.


Islam is the state religion. According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life the population was 89.8% Muslim in 2010, with Hindus accounting for 9.1%.


In 2015 there were 3,813 km of national highways, 4,247 km of regional highways and 13,242 km of district roads plus secondary and rural roads. In 2007 there were 158,100 passenger cars, 168,600 vans and lorries, 31,600 buses and coaches, and 653,500 motorcycles and mopeds. There were 3,160 fatalities as a result of road accidents in 2006.


In Jan. 2009 there were 197 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 407,000 GT. The main port is Chittagong, which handled 27,026,000 tonnes of cargo in 2006 (3,090,000 tonnes loaded and 23,936,000 tonnes unloaded). There is also a seaport at Mongla. There are 8,000 km of navigable inland waterways.

Social Statistics

2008 estimated births, 3,429,000; deaths, 1,054,000. In 2008 the birth rate was an estimated 21.4 per 1,000 population; death rate, 6.6; infant mortality, 2010, 38 per 1,000 live births (down from 99 per 1,000 in 1990). Life expectancy at birth, 2013, 71.5 years for females and 69.9 years for males. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 1.6%; fertility rate, 2008, 2.3 births per woman (down from 4.4 in 1990).


Mobile phone subscribers numbered 126,866,091 in 2014 (800.4 per 1,000 inhabitants). There were 974,181 main telephone lines in the same year. Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 3,093,171 in 2014 (19.5 per 1,000 inhabitants). In 2014, 9.6% of the population were internet users. In March 2012 there were 2.5 m. Facebook users.

Territory and Population

Bangladesh is bounded in the west and north by India, east by India and Myanmar and south by the Bay of Bengal. The area is 147,570 km2 (56,977 sq. miles). In 1992 India granted a 999-year lease of the Tin Bigha corridor linking Bangladesh with its enclaves of Angarpota and Dahagram. The most recent census took place in March 2011; population, 144,043,697 (72,109,796 males), giving a density of 976 persons per sq. km. In 2011, 28.6% of the population lived in urban areas. The country is administratively divided into seven divisions, subdivided into 21 anchal and 64 zila. The populations of the chief cities (2011 census) were as follows: Dhaka,7,033,075 (Metropolitan area, 11,086,309); Chittagong, 2,592,439; Khulna, 663,342; Narayanganj, 543,090; Sylhet, 479,837; Tongi, 476,350; Rajshahi, 449,756; Bogra, 350,397; Barisal, 328,278; Comilla, 326,386. The official language is Bengali.


In 2010 there were 303,000 non-resident tourists, spending US$81 m.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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