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In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land to British India. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of over 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High... See More



 Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic Coordinates:

 27 30 N, 90 30 E


 Total: 38,394 sq km
Land: 38,394 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 About one-half the size of Indiana

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 1,075 km
Border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 208)

Maritime Claims:

 None (landlocked)


 Varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas


 Mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Drangeme Chhu 97 m
Highest point: Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m

Natural Resources:

 Timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate

Land Use:

 Arable land: 2.3%
Permanent crops: 0.43%
Other: 97.27% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 400 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 95 cu km (1987)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.43 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
Per capita: 199 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season

Environment - Current Issues:

 Soil erosion; limited access to potable water

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

Signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - Note:

 Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes

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 Noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Bhutanese

Ethnic Groups:

 Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%


 Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (2005 Census)


 Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%


 708,427 (July 2011 est.)

Note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for this country, which were on the order of three times the total population reported here, were based on Bhutanese government publications that did not include the census

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 28.9% (male 104,622/female 100,383)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 245,054/female 217,864)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 21,347/female 19,157) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 24.8 years
Male: 25.4 years
Female: 24.2 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.201% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

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

Death Rate:

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

Net Migration Rate:

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


 Urban population: 35% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 THIMPHU (capital) 89,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.12 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 200 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 44.48 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 45.24 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 43.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 67.3 years
Male: 66.46 years
Female: 68.19 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.2 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 5.5% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.023 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.7 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 99% of population
Rural: 88% of population
Total: 92% of population
Urban: 1% of population
Rural: 12% of population
Total: 8% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 87% of population
Rural: 54% of population
Total: 65% of population
Urban: 13% of population
Rural: 46% of population
Total: 35% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.2% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 Fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: intermediate
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
Water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 12% (2008)

Education Expenditures:

 4.8% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 47%
Male: 60%
Female: 34% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 6.3%
Male: 5.5%
Female: 7.2% (2005)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
Conventional short form: Bhutan
Local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
Local short form: Druk Yul

Government Type:

 Constitutional monarchy


 Name: Thimphu
Geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E
Time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang


 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)

National Holiday:

 National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)


 Ratified 18 July 2008

Legal System:

 Civil law based on Buddhist religious law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him;the nearly two-year delay between the former King's abdication and his son's coronation on 6 November 2008 was to ensure an astrologically auspicious coronation date and to give the new king, who had limited experience, deeper administrative expertise under the guidance of his father

Head of government: Prime Minister Jigme THINLEY (since 9 April 2008)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch, approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde); members are nominated by the monarch

Elections: the monarchy is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a new National Assembly occurred in March 2008; the leader of the majority party nominated as the prime minister

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral Parliament consists of the non-partisan National Council (25 seats; 20 members elected by each of the 20 electoral districts (dzongkhags) for four-year terms and 5 members nominated by the King); and the National Assembly (47 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote for five-year terms)

Elections: National Council elections last held on 31 December 2007 and 29 January 2008 (next to be held by December 2012); National Assembly elections last held on 24 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)

Election results: National Council - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - DPT 67%, PDP 33%; seats by party - DPT 45, PDP 2

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note - the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court that will serve as chief court of appeal

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 United Front for Democracy (exiled); Druk National Congress (exiled)
Other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 None; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Lhatu WANGCHUK; address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
Consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 The US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)

Flag Description:

 Divided diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side; the dragon, called the Druk (Thunder Dragon), is the emblem of the nation; its white color stands for purity and the jewels in its claws symbolize wealth; the background colors represent spiritual and secular powers within Bhutan: the orange is associated with Bhuddhism, while the yellow denotes the ruling dynasty

National Symbols:

 Thunder dragon known as Druk

National Anthem:

 Name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
Lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI

Note: adopted 1953

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Economy - Overview:

 The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower exports to India have boosted Bhutan's overall growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind Bhutan's ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $3.875 billion (2010 est.)
$3.63 billion (2009 est.)
$3.34 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $1.412 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 6.7% (2010 est.)
8.7% (2009 est.)
3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $5,500 (2010 est.)
$5,300 (2009 est.)
$4,900 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 17.4%
Industry: 45%
Services: 37.6% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:


Note: major shortage of skilled labor (2008)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 43.7%
Industry: 39.1%
Services: 17.2% (2004 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 4% (2009)
2.5% (2004)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 23.2% (2008)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.3%
Highest 10%: 37.6% (2003)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 46% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $576.5 million
Expenditures: $666 million

Note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 40.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -6.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 57.8% of GDP (2009)
81.4% of GDP (2004)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 7.1% (2010 est.)
4.3% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:


Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 14.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
14.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$381.1 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$220.3 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $418.9 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$383 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $637.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $218.7 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$186.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs


 Cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production:

 1.48 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 0.1%
Hydro: 99.9%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 184 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 1.296 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 5.693 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 1,549 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$112.9 million (2009 est.)
-$112.9 million (2008 est.)


 $509.4 million (2009 est.)
$513 million (2008)

Exports - Commodities:

 Electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, vegetable oil


 $620.8 million (2009 est.)
$533 million (2008)

Imports - Commodities:

 Fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, rice

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $1.002 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$890.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $836 million (2009)
$713.3 million (2006)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Bhutan Ngultrum to Any Currency

Ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar -
46.6 (2009)
41.487 (2007)
45.279 (2006)
44.101 (2005)
45.317 (2004)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 26,300 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 394,300 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services

Domestic: low teledensity; domestic service is poor especially in rural areas; mobile-cellular service available since 2003

International: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned TV station established in 1999; cable TV service offers dozens of Indian and other international channels; first radio station, privately launched in 1973, is now state-owned; 1 private radio station began operations in 2006 (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (2007)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 9,147 (2010)

Internet Users:

 50,000 (2009)

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 2 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 8,050 km
Paved: 4,991 km
Unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)

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Military Branches:

 Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 202,407
Females age 16-49: 180,349 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 157,664
Females age 16-49: 144,861 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 7,363
Female: 7,095 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1% of GDP (2005 est.)

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Disputes - International:

 Lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lie in Bhutan's northwest and along the Chumbi salient

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Last Updated: December 2011

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