About Nepal [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Nepal; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Southern Asia, between China and India

Climate

Varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south

Terrain

Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Elevation

lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m

Geo Notes

Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
local short form: Nepal

Capital City

name: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75

Administrative Divisions

14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti

Natuaral Hazards

Severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Environmental Issues

Deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Infectious Diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever (2009)

Life Expectancy

total population: 65.81 years
male: 64.62 years
female: 67.05 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Nepali (official) 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)

Religions Practiced

Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)

Legal System

Based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National Holiday

Republic Day, 29 May; Democracy Day, 24 April

Illicit Drugs

Illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West

Telephone System

general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile-cellular telephone network
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone service subscribership base only about 30 per 100 persons
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast Media

State operates 2 television stations as well as national and regional radio stations; more than 60 independent radio stations and a small number of independent television stations (2007)

Background

In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing ten-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nation-wide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The Constituent Assembly elected the country's first president in July. The Maoists, who received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, formed a coalition government in August 2008, but resigned in May 2009 after the president overruled a decision to fire the chief of the army staff. The Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist and the Nepali Congress party then formed a new coalition government with several smaller parties. In June 2010, the prime minister resigned but, as of December 2010, continued to lead a caretaker government while the parties debate who should lead the next government. Disagreements among the political parties over issues such as the future of former Maoist combatants has hindered the drafting of a new constitution — due in May 2011 — and the formal conclusion of the peace process.

Economy Overview

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with almost one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for about one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. During the global recession of 2009, remittances from foreign workers abroad increased 47% to $2.8 billion while tourist arrivals only decreased 1% compared to the previous year. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of feasible capacity, but political instability hampers foreign investment. Additional challenges to Nepal's growth include its technological backwardness, landlocked geographic location, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.

National Anthem

name: "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka" (Hundreds of Flowers)
lyrics/music: Pradeep Kumar RAI/Ambar GURUNG
note: adopted 2007; after the abolition of the monarchy in 2006, a new anthem was required because of the previous anthem's praise for the king

Nepal location map
Size

total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,351 sq km
water: 3,830 sq km

Nepal flag
Population

28,951,852 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese

Ethnic Groups

Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.5% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

Government Type

Federal democratic republic

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

499,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

43,928 (2010)

Internet Country Code

.np

Refugees & IDPs

refugees (country of origin): 107,803 (Bhutan); 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 50,000-70,000 (remaining from ten-year Maoist insurgency that officially ended in 2006; displacement spread across the country) (2007)

Number Airports

47 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Railways

total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2008)

Roadways

total: 17,282 km
paved: 10,142 km
unpaved: 7,140 km (2007)

National Budget

revenues: $2.3 billion
expenditures: $3.7 billion (FY10)

Account Balance

$537 million (2009)
$241 million (2008)

Exchange Rates

Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar - 77.44 (2009), 65.21 (2008), 70.35 (2007), 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005)

Inflation Rate

13.2% (September 2009 est.)
7.7% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Agricultural Products

Pulses, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat

Labor Force

18 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)

Unemployment Rate

46% (2008 est.)
42% (2004 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$33.61 billion (2009 est.)
$32.1 billion (2008 est.)
$30.47 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$1,200 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)
$1,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 6%
highest 10%: 40.6% (2008)

Family Income Gini

47.2 (2008)
36.7 (1996)

Below Poverty

24.7% (2008)