Bhutan Population: 766,397


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview
Following Britain’s victory in the 1865 Duar War, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding land to British India. Ugyen WANGCHUCK - who had served as the de facto ruler of an increasingly unified Bhutan and had improved relations with the British toward the end of the 19th century - was named king 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. Bhutan negotiated a similar arrangement with independent India in 1949. The Indo-Bhutanese Treaty of Friendship returned to Bhutan a small piece of the territory annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. Under a succession of modernizing monarchs beginning in the 1950s, Bhutan joined the UN in 1971 and slowly continued its engagement beyond its borders. In 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the draft of Bhutan's first constitution - which introduced major democratic reforms - and held a national referendum for its approval. The King abdicated the throne in 2006 in favor of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK. In 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty, eliminating the clause that stated that Bhutan would be "guided by" India in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate closely with New Delhi. In 2008, Bhutan held its first parliamentary election in accordance with the constitution. Bhutan experienced a peaceful turnover of power following a parliamentary election in 2013, which resulted in the defeat of the incumbent party. In 2018, the incumbent party again lost the parliamentary election. Of the more than 100,000 ethnic Nepali - predominantly Lhotshampa - refugees who fled or were forced out of Bhutan in the 1990s, about 6,500 remain displaced in Nepal.

    Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 27 30 N, 90 30 E
Area: total: 38,394 sq km
land: 38,394 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than Maryland; about one-half the size of Indiana
Land Boundaries: total: 1,136 km border countries (2): China 477 km, India 659 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain: mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Natural resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use: agricultural land: 13.6% (2011 est.) arable land: 2.6% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 0.3% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 10.7% (2011 est.) forest: 85.5% (2011 est.)
other: 0.9% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 320 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's Bhutanese name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Current Environment Issues: soil erosion; limited access to potable water; wildlife conservation; industrial pollution; waste disposal
International Environment 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
^Back to Top
Nationality: noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese
Ethnic groups: Ngalop (also known as Bhote) 50%, ethnic Nepali 35% (predominantly Lhotshampas), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Languages: Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (includes foreign languages) (2005 est.)
Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)
Population: 766,397 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.35% (male 99,325 /female 94,985)
15-24 years: 18.4% (male 71,790 /female 69,205)
25-54 years: 43.73% (male 177,436 /female 157,729)
55-64 years: 6.13% (male 25,160 /female 21,817)
65 years and over: 6.39% (male 25,492 /female 23,458) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 47.3 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 40.4 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 14.5 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 28.1 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 27.6 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.05% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 17 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 40.9% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 2.98% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 203,000 THIMPHU (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.09 male(s)/female
total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 148 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 30.3 deaths/1,000 live births male: 30.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 30.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.1 years male: 70.1 years
female: 72.2 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 65.6% (2010)
Physicians density: 0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density: 1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population

urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 77.9% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 33.1% of population (2015 est.)
total: 50.4% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 66.9% of population (2015 est.)
total: 49.6% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 6.4% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 12.7% (2010)
Education expenditures: 7.1% of GDP (2017)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 64.9%
male: 73.1%
female: 55% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years male: 12 years female: 12 years (2013)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 10.7% male: 8.2% female: 12.7% (2015 est.)
^Back to Top
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
etymology: named after the Bhotia, the ethnic Tibetans who migrated from Tibet to Bhutan; "Bod" is the Tibetan name for their land; the Bhutanese name "Druk Yul" means "Land of the Thunder Dragon"
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 38 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Dagana, Gasa, Haa, Lhuentse, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Sarpang, Thimphu, Trashigang, Trashi Yangtse, Trongsa, Tsirang, Wangdue Phodrang, Zhemgang
Independence: 17 December 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king); 8 August 1949 (Treaty of Friendship with India maintains Bhutanese independence)
National holiday: National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution: history: previous governing documents were various royal decrees; first constitution drafted November 2001 to March 2005, ratified 18 July 2008 amendments: proposed as a motion by simple majority vote in a joint session of Parliament; passage requires at least a three-fourths majority vote in a joint session of the next Parliament and assent by the king
Legal system: civil law based on Buddhist religious law
Suffrage: 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 to his son

head of government: Prime Minister Lotay TSHERING (since 7 November 2018)

cabinet: Council of Ministers or Lhengye Zhungtshog members nominated by the monarch in consultation with the prime minister and approved by the National Assembly; members serve 5-year terms elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary but can be removed by a two-thirds vote of Parliament; leader of the majority party in Parliament is nominated as the prime minister, appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch: description: bicameral Parliament or Chi Tshog consists of: non-partisan National Council or Gyelyong Tshogde (25 seats; 20 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 5 members appointed by the king; members serve 5-year terms) National Assembly or Tshogdu (47 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: National Council election last held on 20 April 2018 (next to be held in 2023) National Assembly - first round held on 15 September 2018 and second round held on 18 October 2018 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: National Council - seats by party - independent 20 (all candidates ran as independents); composition - men 23, women 2, percent of women 8% National Assembly - first round - percent of vote by party - DNT 31.9%, DPT 30.9%, PDP 27.4%, BKP 9.8%; second round - percent of vote by party -  NA; seats by party - DNT 30, DPT 17; composition - men 40, women 7, percent of women 14.9%; note - total Parliament percent of women 12.5%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices, including the chief justice); note - the Supreme Court has sole jurisdiction in constitutional matters judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the monarch upon the advice of the National Judicial Commission, a 4-member body to include the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly, the attorney general, the Chief Justice of Bhutan and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; other judges (drangpons) appointed by the monarch from among the High Court judges selected by the National Judicial Commission; chief justice serves a 5-year term or until reaching age 65 years, whichever is earlier; the 4 other judges serve 10-year terms or until age 65, whichever is earlier

subordinate courts: High Court (first appellate court); District or Dzongkhag Courts; sub-district or Dungkhag Courts
Political parties and leaders: Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party or BKP Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Pema GYAMTSHO] (Druk Chirwang Tshogpa or DCT merged with DPT in March 2018) People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY] United Party of Bhutan (Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa) or DNT [Lotay TSHERING]
International organization participation: ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): thunder dragon known as Druk Gyalpo;
national colors: orange, yellow
National anthem: name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI

note: adopted 1953
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Doma TSHERING (since 13 September 2017); address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
consulate(s) general: New York none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Donna TSHERING (since 13 September 2017); address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although frequent informal contact is maintained via the US embassy in New Delhi (India) and Bhutan's Permanent Mission to the UN
^Back to Top
Bhutan's small economy is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than half the population. Because rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive, industrial production is primarily of the cottage industry type. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and is dependent on India for financial assistance and migrant laborers for development projects, especially for road construction. Bhutan signed a pact in December 2014 to expand duty-free trade with Bangladesh. Multilateral development organizations administer most educational, social, and environment programs, and take into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government is cautious in its expansion of the tourist sector, restricing visits to environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Bhutan’s largest export - hydropower to India - could spur sustainable growth in the coming years if Bhutan resolves chronic delays in construction. Bhutan’s hydropower exports comprise 40% of total exports and 25% of the government’s total revenue. Bhutan currently taps only 6.5% of its 24,000-megawatt hydropower potential and is behind schedule in building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with a deal signed in 2008 with India. The high volume of imported materials to build hydropower plants has expanded Bhutan's trade and current account deficits. Bhutan also signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh and India in July 2017 to jointly construct a new hydropower plant for exporting electricity to Bangladesh.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.205 billion (2017 est.) $6.71 billion (2016 est.) $6.252 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $2.405 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.4% (2017 est.) 7.3% (2016 est.) 6.2% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,000 (2017 est.) $8,500 (2016 est.) $8,000 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 40.4% of GDP (2017 est.) 33.3% of GDP (2016 est.) 32% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 58% (2017 est.) government consumption: 16.8% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 47.2% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 26% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -48% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 16.2% (2017 est.) industry: 41.8% (2017 est.) services: 42% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus; dairy products, eggs
Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 6.3% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 397,900 (2017 est.) note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 58%
industry: 20%
services: 22% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate: 3.2% (2017 est.) 3.2% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 12% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 30.6% (2012)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 38.8 (2012) 38.1 (2007)
Budget: revenues: 655.3 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 737.4 million (2017 est.)

note: the Government of India finances nearly one-quarter of Bhutan's budget expenditures
Taxes and other revenues: 27.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 106.3% of GDP (2017 est.) 114.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.8% (2017 est.) 7.6% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$547 million (2017 est.) -$621 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $554.6 million (2017 est.) $495.3 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, cardamom, calcium carbide, steel rods/bars, dolomite, gypsum
Exports - partners: India 95.3% (2017)
Imports: $1.025 billion (2017 est.) $1.03 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: fuel and lubricants, airplanes, machinery and parts, rice, motor vehicles
Imports - partners: India 89.5% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.206 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $1.127 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $2.671 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $2.355 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $160.4 million (31 December 2017 est.) $168.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $401.4 million (31 December 2017 est.) $340.5 million (31 December 2016 est.) $359.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rates: ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar - 64.97 (2017 est.) 67.2 (2016 est.) 67.2 (2015 est.) 64.15 (2014 est.) 61.03 (2013 est.)
^Back to Top
Electricity - production: 7.883 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 2.184 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 5.763 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 84 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.632 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 1% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 99% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 3,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 3,120 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 604,900 Mt (2017 est.)
^Back to Top
Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 730,623
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 96 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services; telecom sector has been continuing on a steady development path; fixed broadband penetration remains very low, due to the preeminence of the mobile platform; in the next five years to 2023 low to moderate growth is expected from this small base (2018)

domestic: domestic service inadequate, notably in rural areas; mobile-cellular service, begun in 2003, is now widely available; 3 to 100 fixed-line, 96 to 100 mobile cellular (2018)

international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat
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; 5 private radio stations are currently broadcasting (2012)
Internet country code: .bt
Internet users: total: 313,347
percent of population: 41.8% (July 2016 est.)
^Back to Top
Airports: 2 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
Roadways: total 12,205 km
(2017) urban: 437 km (2017)
^Back to Top
Military branches: Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; militia training is compulsory for males aged 20-25, over a 3-year period (2012)
^Back to Top
 Transnational Issues
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 most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China’s Chumbi salient
^Back to Top

« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview

   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

Flag Counter