Bangladesh Geography and Population

Bangladesh – geography

Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world. The summer monsoon allows for very intensive farming, but regularly causes severe flooding.


Leaving aside certain small town and island states, Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country; over 1000 residents per km2, which is more than three times as much as in the densely populated neighboring country of India. The population is growing by 2% per year (2006), and 33% of the population are children under 14 years of age. Apart from the capital Dhaka, there are only a few major cities and 80% of the population live in the countryside. Population growth and rural poverty have led to large-scale immigration to the cities; Dhaka’s population is growing enormously and in 2001 is estimated to be over 10 million. The rapid urban growth also applies to Chittagong (3.3 million), Khulna (1.3 million) and Rajshahi (679,000).

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Bangladesh is an Islamic country and Muslims make up 87% of the population. Bengali is the main language, but English is prevalent in the middle and upper classes of the cities.


Agriculture is the completely dominant profession. No less than 71% of the country is under plow, which is a higher proportion than in any other country in the world. Nevertheless, the total operating area is DKK 9.2 million. have only three times as large as Denmark’s. The soil is immeasurably fertile; the majority are clayey river deposits, large parts of which are flooded annually, thus supplying nutrients from the river water sediments. approximately 80% of the population derives directly or indirectly from the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the most important raw material supplier to industry, just as agricultural products make up a large part of exports. Rice is by far the most important crop, followed by legumes and vegetables. The government has encouraged the introduction of new high-yielding cereals, which with the help of fertilizers and irrigation can increase the harvest yield per hectare. acres. This has led to a significant increase in both rice and wheat cultivation. The main sales crop is jute, which is mainly grown in the northern and central parts of the country. Jute fibers are strong and coarse and are used for eg sacks. The plant is grown during the rainy monsoon period and sown in the most fertile river deposits. approximately half of the jute harvest is exported as raw jute, while the rest is processed in the country, a large part for later export. Sugarcane is the second most important sales crop. For culture and traditions of Bangladesh, please check animalerts.

There are only limited opportunities to take new agricultural land under plow. On the other hand, production can be expanded by harvesting several times a year; approximately 60% of the arable land is harvested two or three times a year.

Throughout the 1990’s, the country was, as so often before, hit by floods during the summer monsoon, several times with catastrophic consequences. Agricultural production is still growing steadily, and most years the country is self-sufficient in rice. Although total agricultural production has grown by 29% since the 1980’s, the population has not had a significantly better food supply for this reason, as the population has grown almost as much. However, the insufficient food supply is mainly due to the widespread poverty, which is not least related to a very unequal distribution of land and thus income. This problem is getting bigger and bigger. In 1960, 24% of farmers had less than 0.4 hectares of land; this group had grown to 40% in 1984. On the other hand, the 5% of the farmers who have the most own 26% of the total agricultural land, and the group of large farmers is growing. The landless families are referred to low-paid loose work or to rent land in exchange for handing over part of the harvest, usually half, to the owner. This Share cropping system is an independent issue for the economic development of Bangladesh. The landless farmer who rents the land feels no incentive to improve the land or his cultivation methods, as an increase in the harvest yield will usually simply lead to the owner demanding more in payment for the right of use. The skewed land distribution is thus both a major cause of widespread poverty and a brake on the introduction of new cultivation methods.


Rivers, lakes and ponds cover almost a third of the land area during the rainy season; Among other things, most villages have one or more tanks, ie. small local water reservoirs. The vast majority of these natural or artificial fresh waters are used intensively for fishing; for many poor families, it is a necessary supplement to agriculture. Here and in the Bay of Bengal, over 1 million their daily livelihood and provide 70% of the country’s protein supply. In addition, fish products account for 9% of exports. Although fishing flourished in the early 1990’s, it is still a sector with great untapped growth potential.


Bangladesh has few raw materials that can be exploited commercially. Lime is extracted by a state mining company and exploited in the cement industry. The extraction of kaolin is stagnant.

The energy supply is heavily dependent on imports. The country has approximately 1/2 % of the world’s natural gas reserves and they are increasingly exploited; oil and coal must be imported. The total energy consumption per. per capita is among the lowest in the world; over half of the consumption comes from the rural population’s use of firewood and extruded sugar cane, and access to electricity is very limited.

The industrial sector is small (27% of GDP in 2003) and heavily dependent on the raw materials produced in agriculture. The jute and textile industry is the most important and accounts for about a quarter of total industrial production. The jute industry is very dependent on price developments in the world market; the generally falling prices of artificial fibers with which jute competes have meant that the jute trade has been hit hard.

The textile and clothing industry (cotton and silk) today (2006) accounts for 75% of total exports.

Immediately after independence, the government introduced extensive regulations and nationalizations in the industrial and service sectors. Like other countries in the region, liberalization and privatization began in the 1990’s in the hope of increasing growth and attracting foreign investment.

Development aid

Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world that is most dependent on foreign aid. In most years, development aid is one of the largest items on the balance of payments’ revenue side, and the aid finances a large part of the country’s imports. In the 1980’s, virtually the entire country’s development budget was foreign-funded. Following a tightening of public budgets and the beginning of liberalization, the foreign share is declining; measured per per capita, development aid amounts to approximately DKK 40 per year (2005). An important part of the country’s economy stems from transfers from the many guest workers from Bangladesh who work in the Middle East and Malaysia to generally poorly paid jobs. The transfers are estimated at DKK 10 billion. DKK annually.

Denmark has a close development cooperation with Bangladesh. The assistance has been part of the so-called poverty orientation of Danish developing country aid, and it has primarily aimed at reaching the poorest population groups in the agricultural districts. Denmark’s largest and most ambitious development project in any developing country was carried out in the Noakhali district in the southern part of the country in the period 1978-92. It was an integrated regional development project that included the construction of roads and canals as well as the establishment of credit schemes and cooperatives. The total expenses were approximately 500 million The project achieved its goals to a certain extent, but also showed how difficult it is to meet the political goal itself: to help the poorest in an area that has an established and skewed economic power structure. The Danish development assistance program for the country amounted to DKK 200 million.


Bangladesh is first and foremost a cultural landscape. Farthest south in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are sparsely populated mountain areas with large uncultivated areas, and the western part of the delta coast is a vast mangrove area, The Sundarbans. But beyond these two areas, the land consists of fields, rivers, canals, dikes, lakes and ponds, and the height differences of the landscape are only a few meters.

The climate is tropical. Three quarters of the precipitation falls during the summer monsoon from June to September, with the northwestern regions receiving up to 5000 mm of precipitation, while the southeastern regions receive up to half. In the winter, on the other hand, there is actually a drought in many places, and irrigation is necessary for agriculture. During the monsoon, the coast and the great delta are hit by powerful tropical cyclones from the Bay of Bengal. The low-lying islands off the coast are flooded and the bodies of water are forced up into the rivers. Both the Brahmaputras and the Ganges’large catchment areas are also located in the monsoon belt, which means that the rivers must transport large amounts of water from here at the same time. The result is annually recurring floods of large parts of the country. For example, the Sylhet Basin NE of Dhaka is mostly under 5-7 m of water during the summer months. As mentioned, this annual flood is an important precondition for the extremely intensive agriculture, but the violent storms are also causing devastating natural disasters.

Bangladesh itself is not capable of regulating the rivers. On the one hand, the task will require capital and technology that the country does not have at its disposal, and on the other hand, the rivers have their catchment areas outside the country’s control, namely in India and Nepal. Ever since independence in 1971, attempts have been made to reach agreement with India on water level control in the Ganges and Brahmaputra, but without success. The political disagreement is not least due to the Indian Faraka Dam in the state of West Bengal, which regulates the water supply to Kolkata (Calcutta) and thus prevents sanding of the port. The dam has diverted part of the Ganges’ water, which Bangladesh in the dry season wants to use for irrigation.

Despite the immense population density, Bangladesh has a rich wildlife. Sundarban National Park is home to the Bengal tiger, deer, crocodiles, wild boar, strangler snakes and a rich bird life. Sundarbans covers 3600 km2 river delta. At low tide the forest floor is 2 m above the water level, but by river, when the water enters from the Bay of Bengal at 50 km/h, the forest floor is under water. The area is part of the international project for the conservation of tigers.

Bangladesh – language

95% of the population is native bengali. It is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language also spoken in the Indian state of West Bengal. In total, Bengali is spoken by approximately 215 million people (2005), of which 140 million in Bangladesh and it is thus one of the largest languages ​​in the world. In the middle and upper class in the cities, English is prevalent. In The Chittagong Hill Tracts also have several smaller tribal languages.