Muslim conversions and settlement in the region now referred to as Bangladesh began in the 10th century, primarily from Arab and Persian traders and preachers. Europeans established trading posts in the area in the 16th century. Eventually the area known as Bengal, primarily Hindu in the western section and mostly Muslim in the eastern half, became part of British India. Partition in 1947 resulted in an eastern wing of Pakistan in the Muslim-majority area, which became East Pakistan. Calls for greater autonomy and animosity between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan led to a Bengali independence movement. That movement, led by the Awami League (AL) and supported by India, won the independence war for Bangladesh in 1971, during which at least 300,000 civilians died.
The post-independence AL government faced daunting challenges and in 1975 was overthrown by the military, triggering a series of military coups that resulted in a military-backed government and subsequent creation of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in 1978. That government also ended in a coup in 1981, followed by military-backed rule until democratic elections occurred in 1991. The BNP and AL alternated in power between 1991 and 2013, with the exception of a military-backed, emergency caretaker regime that suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. That government returned the country to fully democratic rule in December 2008 with the election of the AL and Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA. In January 2014, the incumbent AL won the national election by an overwhelming majority after the BNP boycotted, extending HASINA's term as prime minister. With the help of international development assistance, Bangladesh has reduced the poverty rate from over half of the population to less than a third, achieved Millennium Development Goals for maternal and child health, and made great progress in food security since independence. The economy has grown at an annual average of about 6% over the last two decades and the country reached World Bank lower-middle income status in 2015.



Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

Geographic coordinates

24 00 N, 90 00 E

Map references



total: 148,460 sq km
land: 130,170 sq km
water: 18,290 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Iowa

Land boundaries

total: 4,413 km
border countries (2): Burma 271 km, India 4,142 km


580 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to the outer limits of the continental margin


tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)


mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast


mean elevation: 85 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m

Natural resources

natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Land use

agricultural land: 70.1%
arable land 59%; permanent crops 6.5%; permanent pasture 4.6%
forest: 11.1%
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

53,000 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

droughts; cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season

Environment - current issues

many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal

People and Society


156,186,882 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Bangladeshi(s)
adjective: Bangladeshi

Ethnic groups

Bengali at least 98%, ethnic groups 1.1%
note: Bangladesh's government recognizes 27 ethnic groups under the 2010 Cultural Institution for Small Anthropological Groups Act; other sources estimate there are about 75 ethnic groups; critics of the 2011 census claim that it underestimates the size of Bangladesh's ethnic population (2011 est.)


Bangla 98.8% (official, also known as Bengali), other 1.2% (2011 est.)


Muslim 89.1%, Hindu 10%, other 0.9% (includes Buddhist, Christian) (2013 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.27% (male 22,456,564/female 21,695,491)
15-24 years: 19.53% (male 15,261,363/female 15,247,635)
25-54 years: 39.39% (male 29,565,250/female 31,951,537)
55-64 years: 6.77% (male 5,232,828/female 5,342,822)
65 years and over: 6.04% (male 4,493,557/female 4,939,835) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.5%
youth dependency ratio: 44.9%
elderly dependency ratio: 7.6%
potential support ratio: 13.2% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 26.3 years
male: 25.6 years
female: 26.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.05% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

19 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 34.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.55% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

DHAKA (capital) 17.598 million; Chittagong 4.539 million; Khulna 1.022 million; Rajshahi 844,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 4,485,497
percentage: 13% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

176 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 32.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 35.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 30.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.2 years
male: 71 years
female: 75.4 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.19 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

61.2% (2011)

Health expenditures

2.8% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

0.36 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

0.6 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

urban: 86.5% of population
rural: 87% of population
total: 86.9% of population
urban: 13.5% of population
rural: 13% of population
total: 13.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 57.7% of population
rural: 62.1% of population
total: 60.6% of population
urban: 42.3% of population
rural: 37.9% of population
total: 39.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.01% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

9,600 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

900 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

3.3% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

32.6% (2014)

Education expenditures

2.2% of GDP (2015)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61.5%
male: 64.6%
female: 58.5% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2011)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 8.7%
male: 8.3%
female: 9.2% (2010 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
conventional short form: Bangladesh
local long form: Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
local short form: Bangladesh
former: East Bengal, East Pakistan
etymology: the name - a compound of the Bengali words "Bangla" (Bengal) and "desh" (country) - means "Country of Bengal"

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Dhaka
geographic coordinates: 23 43 N, 90 24 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

8 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet


16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan)

National holiday

Independence Day, 26 March (1971); Victory Day, 16 December (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of the Awami League's declaration of an independent Bangladesh, and 16 December, known as Victory Day, memorializes the military victory over Pakistan and the official creation of the state of Bangladesh


previous 1935, 1956, 1962 (preindependence); latest enacted 4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended March 1982, restored November 1986; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of mostly English common law and Islamic law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Bangladesh
dual citizenship recognized: yes, but limited to select countries
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Abdul HAMID (since 24 April 2013); note - Abdul HAMID served as acting president following the death of Zillur RAHMAN in March 2013; HAMID was subsequently indirectly elected by the National Parliament and sworn in 24 April 2013
head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA (since 6 January 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 April 2013 (next to be held by 2018); the president appoints as prime minister the majority party leader in the National Parliament
election results: President Abdul HAMID (AL) elected by the National Parliament unopposed; Sheikh HASINA reappointed prime minister as leader of the majority AL party

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of the Nation or Jatiya Sangsad (350 seats; 300 members in single-seat territorial constituencies directly elected by simple majority popular vote; 50 members - reserved for women only - indirectly elected by the elected members by proportional representation vote using the single transferable vote method; all members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 January 2014 (next to be held by January 2019); note - the 5 January 2014 poll was marred by widespread violence, boycotts, general strikes, and low voter turnout
election results: percent of vote by party - AL-led Alliance 79%, JP (Ershad) 11.3%, WP 2.1%, JSD 1.8%, other parties 1.0%, independent 4.8%; seats by party - AL 234, JP 34, WP 6, JSD 5, other 5, independent 15; 1 seat repolled

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Bangladesh (organized into the Appellate Division with 7 justices and the High Court Division with 99 justices)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and justices appointed by the president; justices serve until retirement at age 67
subordinate courts: subordinate courts: civil courts include: Assistant Judge's Court; Joint District Judge's Court; Additional District Judge's Court; District Judge's Court; criminal courts include: Court of Sessions; Court of Metropolitan Sessions; Metropolitan Magistrate Courts; Magistrate Court; special courts/tribunals

Political parties and leaders

Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]
Bangladesh Nationalist Front or BNF [Abdul Kalam AZADI]
Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]
Bangladesh Tariqat Federation or BTF [Syed Nozibul Bashar MAIZBHANDARI]
Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]
Jatiya Party or JP (Manju faction) [Anwar Hossain MANJU]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Oli AHMED]
National Socialist Party or JSD [KHALEQUZZAMAN]
Workers Party or WP [Rashed Khan MENON]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Ain o Salish Kendro (Centre for Law and Mediation) or ASK (legal aid and civil rights)
Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee or BRAC
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs or MoWCA (advocacy group to end gender-based violence)
Odikhar (human rights group)
other: associations of madrassa teachers; business associations, including those intended to promote international trade; development and advocacy NGOs associated with the Grameen Bank; environmentalists; Islamist groups; labor rights advocacy groups; NGOs focused on poverty alleviation, and international trade; religious leaders; tribal groups and advocacy organizations; union leaders

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mohammad ZIAUDDIN (since 18 September 2014)
chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
FAX: [1] (202) 244-2771
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Marcia BERNICAT (since 12 January 2015)
embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
telephone: [880] (2) 5566-2000
FAX: [880] (2) 5566-2915

Flag description

green field with a large red disk shifted slightly to the hoist side of center; the red disk represents the rising sun and the sacrifice to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush vegetation of Bangladesh

National symbol(s)

Bengal tiger, water lily; national colors: green, red

National anthem

name: "Amar Shonar Bangla" (My Golden Bengal)
lyrics/music: Rabindranath TAGORE
note: adopted 1971; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote India's national anthem


Economy - overview

Bangladesh's economy has grown roughly 6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, slow implementation of economic reforms, and the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Alth

Garment exports, the backbone of Bangladesh's industrial sector, accounted for more than 80% of total exports and surpassed $25 billion in 2016. The sector continues to grow, despite a series of factory accidents that have killed more than 1,000 workers,

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$628.4 billion (2016 est.)
$587.7 billion (2015 est.)
$550.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$226.8 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

6.9% (2016 est.)
6.8% (2015 est.)
6.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$3,900 (2016 est.)
$3,700 (2015 est.)
$3,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

28.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
29.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
29.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 70.3%
government consumption: 5.2%
investment in fixed capital: 28.2%
investment in inventories: 3%
exports of goods and services: 16.5%
imports of goods and services: -23.2% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 28.6%
services: 56.3% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry


jute, cotton, garments, paper, leather, fertilizer, iron and steel, cement, petroleum products, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, tea, salt, sugar, edible oils, soap and detergent, fabricated metal products, electricity, natural gas

Industrial production growth rate

8.4% (2016 est.)

Labor force

83.59 million
note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances were $15 billion in 2015, 8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 47%
industry: 13%
services: 40% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate

4.9% (2016 est.)
4.9% (2015 est.)
note: about 40% of the population is underemployed; many persons counted as employed work only a few hours a week and at low wages

Population below poverty line

31.5% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

32.1 (2010)
33.6 (1996)


revenues: $23.78 billion
expenditures: $35.32 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

10.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

25.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.6% (2016 est.)
6.2% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

5% (31 December 2010)
5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

10.7% (31 December 2016 est.)
11.71% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$25.28 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$21.44 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$121.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$106.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$128.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$113 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$50.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$41.73 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$23.55 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance

-$131 million (2016 est.)
$1.507 billion (2015 est.)


$33.32 billion (2016 est.)
$31.74 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

garments, knitwear, agricultural products, frozen food (fish and seafood), jute and jute goods, leather

Exports - partners

US 13.9%, Germany 12.9%, UK 8.9%, France 5%, Spain 4.7% (2015)


$39.17 billion (2016 est.)
$37.63 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

cotton, machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

China 22.4%, India 14.1%, Singapore 5.2% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$29.77 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$27.49 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$37.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$35.49 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$13.24 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.91 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$343 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$188 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

taka (BDT) per US dollar -
78.5 (2016 est.)
77.947 (2015 est.)
77.947 (2014 est.)
77.614 (2013 est.)
81.86 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 60,300,000
electrification - total population: 60%
electrification - urban areas: 90%
electrification - rural areas: 49% (2013)

Electricity - production

53 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

46 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

8.6 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

97.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

2.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production

4,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

313 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

23,660 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

28 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

27,930 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

109,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

2,567 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

77,730 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

23.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

23.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

233 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

66 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 830,800
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 133.72 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 79 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: inadequate for a modern country; introducing digital systems; trunk systems include VHF and UHF microwave radio relay links, and some fiber-optic cable in cities
domestic: fixed-line teledensity remains only about 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly and now approaches 80 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 880; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 6; international radiotelephone communications and landline service to neighborin (2015)

Broadcast media

state-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) operates 1 terrestrial TV station, 3 radio networks, and about 10 local stations; 8 private satellite TV stations and 3 private radio stations also broadcasting; foreign satellite TV stations are gaining audience sh (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 24.33 million
percent of population: 14.4% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 30
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,906,799
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 182,692,553 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

S2 (2016)


18 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 5 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


3 (2013)


gas 2,950 km (2013)


total: 2,460 km
broad gauge: 659 km 1.676-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,801 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)


total: 21,269 km
paved: 2,021 km
unpaved: 19,248 km (2010)


8,370 km (includes up to 3,060 km of main cargo routes; network reduced to 5,200 km in the dry season) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 62
by type: bulk carrier 25, cargo 28, chemical tanker 1, container 5, petroleum tanker 3
foreign-owned: 8 (China 1, Singapore 7)
registered in other countries: 10 (Comoros 1, Hong Kong 1, Panama 5, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Chittagong
river port(s): Mongla Port (Sela River)
container port(s): Chittagong (1,392,104) (2011)

Transportation - note

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh remain a risk for armed robbery against ships; in 2014, attacks against commercial vessels increased to 21 over 12 such incidents in 2013


Military branches

Bangladesh Defense Force: Bangladesh Army (Sena Bahini), Bangladesh Navy (Noh Bahini, BN), Bangladesh Air Force (Biman Bahini, BAF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

16-19 years of age for voluntary military service; Bangladeshi birth and 10th grade education required; initial obligation 15 years (2012)

Military expenditures

1.09% of GDP (2014)
1.15% of GDP (2013)
1.35% of GDP (2012)
1.44% of GDP (2011)
1.35% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Indian Prime Minister Singh's September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 32,000 Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Arakan State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up along border

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 231,948 (Burma) (2015)
IDPs: 426,000 (violence, human rights violations, religious persecution, natural disasters) (2015)

Illicit drugs

transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries