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

Natural Resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore;

Natural Hazards: severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons;

Population: 30,430,267 (July 2013 est.)


Nepal: World Factbook


In 1951, the Nepali 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 10-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. Between 2008 and 2011 there have been four different coalition governments, led twice by the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, and twice by the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist. In November 2011, Maoist Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI, who was elected in August 2011, and the leaders of the main political parties signed an agreement seeking to conclude the peace process and recommit the Constituent Assembly to finish drafting the constitution by a May 2012 deadline.


People and Society
Population29,890,686 (July 2012 est.)
LanguagesNepali (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.)
ReligionsHindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
Median Agetotal: 21.6 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 22.5 years (2011 est.)
Age Structure0-14 years: 34.6% (male 5,177,264/female 4,983,864)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 8,607,338/female 9,344,537)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 597,628/female 681,252) (2011 est.)


Government Typefederal democratic republic
Capitalname: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Legal SystemEnglish common law and Hindu legal concepts


Economy – OverviewNepal 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. 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 landlocked geographic location, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
GDP (Official Exchange Rate)$18.3 billion (2011 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $3.9 billion
expenditures: $5.3 billion (FY11)
Current Account Balance-$437.9 million (2010 est.)
$537 million (2009 est.)
Imports – Commoditiespetroleum products, machinery and equipment, gold, electrical goods, medicine
Exports – Commoditiesclothing, pulses, carpets, textiles, juice, pashima, jute goods


Broadcast Mediastate operates 2 television stations as well as national and regional radio stations; roughly 30 independent television channels are registered with 13 in regular operation; nearly 400 FM radio stations are licenced with roughly 300 operational (2010)
Internet Users577,800 (2009)
Internet Hosts41,532 (2011)
Telephones – Mobile Cellular9.196 million (2010)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use841,700 (2010)


Airports47 (2010)
Roadwaystotal: 17,282 km
paved: 10,142 km
unpaved: 7,140 km (2007)


Manpower Fit for Military Servicemales age 16-49: 5,260,878
females age 16-49: 5,947,512 (2010 est.)


Transitional Issues
Disputes – Internationaljoint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990
Refugees and Internally Displaced Personsrefugees (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)