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Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed, emergency caretaker regime suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. In contrast to the strikes and violent street... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 24 00 N, 90 00 E


 Total: 143,998 sq km
Land: 130,168 sq km
Water: 13,830 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Iowa

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 4,246 km
Border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km


 580 km (Rank: 99)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: up 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

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m

Natural Resources:

 Natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Land Use:

 Arable land: 55.39%
Permanent crops: 3.08%
Other: 41.53% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 50,500 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 1,210.6 cu km (1999)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 79.4 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
Per capita: 560 cu m/yr (2000)

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

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 Noun: Bangladeshi(s)
Adjective: Bangladeshi

Ethnic Groups:

 Bengali 98%, other 2% (includes tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims) (1998)


 Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English


 Muslim 89.5%, Hindu 9.6%, other 0.9% (2004)


 158,570,535 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 34.3% (male 27,551,594/female 26,776,647)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 45,956,431/female 50,891,519)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 3,616,225/female 3,778,119) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 23.3 years
Male: 22.7 years
Female: 23.7 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.566% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 22.98 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 5.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -1.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 28% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 DHAKA (capital) 14.251 million; Chittagong 4.816 million; Khulna 1.636 million; Rajshahi 853,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 340 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 50.73 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 53.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 48.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 69.75 years
Male: 67.93 years
Female: 71.65 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.6 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.4% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.295 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.4 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 85% of population
Rural: 78% of population
Total: 80% of population
Urban: 15% of population
Rural: 22% of population
Total: 20% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 56% of population
Rural: 52% of population
Total: 53% of population
Urban: 44% of population
Rural: 48% of population
Total: 47% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 Less than 0.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 6,300 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 200 (2009 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

Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 41.3% (2007)

Education Expenditures:

 2.4% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 47.9%
Male: 54%
Female: 41.4% (2001 Census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 8 years
Male: 8 years
Female: 8 years (2007)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 9.3%
Male: 8%
Female: 13.6% (2006)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh
Conventional short form: Bangladesh
Local long form: Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
Local short form:
Former: East Bengal, East Pakistan

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy


 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:

 7 divisions; Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet


 16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh


 Enacted 4 November 1972; effective 16 December 1972; suspended following coup of 24 March 1982; restored 10 November 1986; amended many times

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


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Zillur RAHMAN (since 12 February 2009)

Head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA Wajed (since 6 January 2009)

Cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president

Elections: president elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 11 February 2009 (next to be held in 2014)

Election results: Zillur RAHMAN declared president-elect by the Election Commission on 11 February 2009 (sworn in on 12 February); he ran unopposed as president; percent of National Parliament vote - NA

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats (45 reserved for women) elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms

Elections: last held on 29 December 2008 (next to be held in 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party - AL 49%, BNP 33.2%, JP 7%, JIB 4.6%, other 6.2%; seats by party - AL 230, BNP 30, JP 27, JIB 2, other 11

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Awami League or AL [Sheikh HASINA]; Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB [Manjurul A. KHAN]; Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP [Khaleda ZIA]; Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh or BDB [Badrudozza CHOWDHURY]; Islami Oikya Jote or IOJ [multiple leaders]; Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh or JIB [Matiur Rahman NIZAMI]; Jatiya Party or JP (Ershad faction) [Hussain Mohammad ERSHAD]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Oli AHMED]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Advocacy to End Gender-based Violence through the MoWCA (Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)
Other: environmentalists; Islamist groups; religious leaders; teachers; union leaders

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Akramul QADER
Chancery: 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 244-0183
FAX: [1] (202) 244-7830/2771
Consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Dan W. MOZENA
Embassy: Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
Mailing address: G. P. O. Box 323, Dhaka 1000
Telephone: [880] (2) 885-5500
FAX: [880] (2) 882-3744

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 Symbols:

 Bengal tiger

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

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Economy - Overview:

 The economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, 45% of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Bangladesh's growth was resilient during the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Garment exports, totaling $12.3 billion in FY09 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, totaling $11 billion in FY10, accounted for almost 25% of GDP.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $258.6 billion (2010 est.)
$243.9 billion (2009 est.)
$230.6 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $104.9 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 6% (2010 est.)
5.8% (2009 est.)
6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,700 (2010 est.)
$1,600 (2009 est.)
$1,500 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 18.6%
Industry: 28.5%
Services: 53% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 73.86 million

Note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Malaysia; workers' remittances were $10.9 billion in FY09/10 (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 45%
Industry: 30%
Services: 25% (2008)

Unemployment Rate:

 5.1% (2010 est.)
5.1% (2009 est.)

Note: about 40% of the population is underemployed; many participants in the labor force work only a few hours a week, at low wages

Population Below Poverty Line:

 40% (2010 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA
Highest 10%: 26.6% (2008 est.)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 33.2 (2005)
33.6 (1996)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 26,268 (Burma)
IDPs: 65,000 (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 23.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $11.41 billion
Expenditures: $15.87 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 10.9% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -4.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 35.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
35.4% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 8.1% (2010 est.)
5.4% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

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

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 13% (31 December 2010 est.)
14.6% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $10.35 billion (30 September 2009)
$8.444 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $45.23 billion (30 September 2009)
$37.98 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $14.12 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$10.88 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $56.44 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$47.38 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $64.71 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$53.59 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $47 billion (31 December 2010)
$7.068 billion (31 December 2009)
$6.671 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

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


 Cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 7% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 25.62 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 93.7%
Hydro: 6.3%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 23.94 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 5,724 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 98,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 2,770 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 77,340 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 28 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 19.75 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 20.1 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 195.4 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $3.734 billion (2010 est.)
$3.556 billion (2009 est.)


 $19.24 billion (2010 est.)
$15.07 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Garments, frozen fish and seafood, jute and jute goods, leather

Exports - Partners:

 US 22.1%, Germany 14.1%, UK 8.5%, France 6.8%, Netherlands 6.1% (2010)


 $24.72 billion (2010 est.)
$19.68 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement

Imports - Partners:

 China 18.9%, India 12.7%, Singapore 6%, Malaysia 4.7%, Japan 4% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $11.18 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$10.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $24.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$23.82 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $91.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$91 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $6.107 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.139 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Bangladesh Taka to Any Currency

Taka (BDT) per US dollar -
70.59 (2010)
69.04 (2009)
68.554 (2008)
69.893 (2007)
69.031 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 900,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 68.65 million (2010)

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 exceeds 40 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 neighboring countries (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned broadcaster (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 share in the large cities; several international radio broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 17, FM 19, shortwave 2 (2009)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 17 (2009)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 68,224 (2010)

Internet Users:

 617,300 (2009)

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 17 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 15
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: 4 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)


 Gas 2,714 km (2010)


 Total: 2,622 km
Broad gauge: 946 km 1.676-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 1,676 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)


 Total: 239,226 km
Paved: 22,726 km
Unpaved: 216,500 km (2003)


 8,370 km (includes up to 3,060 km of main cargo routes; the network is reduced to 5,200 km in the dry season) (2007)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 50
By type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 25, container 5, petroleum tanker 4
Foreign-owned: 4 (China 1, Singapore 3)
Registered in other countries: 9 (Comoros 1, Malta 1, Panama 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 2) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Chittagong, Mongla Port

Transportation - Note:

 The International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh remain a high risk for armed robbery against ships; attacks against vessels increased in 2010 for the second consecutive year; 23 commercial vessels were attacked both at anchor and while underway; crews were robbed and stores or cargoes stolen

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Military Branches:

 Bangladesh Defense Force: Bangladesh Army (Sena Bahini), Bangladesh Navy (Noh Bahini, BN), Bangladesh Air Force (Biman Bahini, BAF) (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 16 years of age for voluntary enlisted military service (Air Force); 17 years of age (Army and Navy); conscription is by law possible in times of emergency, but has never been implemented (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 36,520,491 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 30,486,086
Females age 16-49: 35,616,093 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 1,606,963
Female: 1,689,442 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.3% of GDP (2009)

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Disputes - International:

 Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; 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 29,000 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

Illicit Drugs:

 Transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Bangladesh is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; a significant share of Bangladesh's trafficking victims are men recruited for work overseas with fraudulent employment offers who are subsequently exploited under conditions of forced labor or debt bondage; children are trafficked within Bangladesh for commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor, and forced labor; women and children from Bangladesh are also trafficked to India and Pakistan for sexual exploitation

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Bangladesh does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, including some progress in addressing sex trafficking; the government did not demonstrate sufficient progress in criminally prosecuting and convicting labor trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers for the purpose of labor trafficking (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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