Nepal’s population as a potential labor force
According to the UN classification, Nepal is one of the least economically developed countries in the world; almost half of its population lives below the poverty line.
The number of people actively engaged in the economy is more than 15 million. Ninety-four percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture, 16% in services, and 3% in industry. The unemployment rate is 4.4%.
Population of Nepal
Culturally and ethnically, Nepal is a mixture of about a hundred nationalities and castes. The boundaries of the castes are usually transparent, and belonging to one caste or another also depends on the custom of the observer.
The population of Nepal has a very complex ethnic composition – the peoples of the country speak almost 70 languages and dialects (14 of which have their own script) of two language families – Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan.
The most common language, Nepali (Gurkhali, Gorkhali or Khaskura), has the status of an official language. Other common languages are Maitkhili (12.4%), Bhojpuri (7.6%), Tharu (5.9%), Tamang (5.2%), Niwari (3.6%) and Magari (3.4%).
The main people are Nepalis, settled mainly in the central and southwestern part of the country. The Gurunga (1.5%) and Magara (2.2%) ethnic groups are concentrated in the west. The Nivars (3.4%), Limbu (2.4%), Rai (2%), Sungari and Tamangs (4.9%) are concentrated in the east of Nepal. Indo-Aryan peoples such as Maitkhili (11.5%) and Bhojpuri (7%) (Biharis) as well as Hindustani and Bengali inhabit the south.
Many nationalities are refugees, invaders and settlers. For example, the Bahuna people fled to Nepal from the south from a Muslim invasion around 1300 years ago, and the Sherpa people fled from the north from the Mongols about 500 years ago.
Nepal is a Type II reproductive country. The population increases at an average annual rate of 2.8%, mainly due to natural increase. As a result of considerable emigration in the past, the number of men is inferior to that of women.
The caste system of Nepal
The Nepalese caste system developed in parallel with the Indian one. It is known that the historical Buddha Gautama Siddhartha (born 563 B.C.) belonged to the Kshatriya varna, the warrior varna. The Indian influence in Nepal especially increased during the Gupta dynasty (320-500); Nepal then had the status of a “neighboring kingdom,” but was subordinate to Samudragupta.
Later, beginning in the 10th century, many Hindus (as well as numerous Brahmans) migrated from India to Nepal, mostly fleeing the Arab invasion and introduction of Islam, especially from northeastern India. In so doing, the refugees sought to preserve the original culture and rituals.
The majority, which includes liberal Bahuns and Chhetri and peoples without their own caste systems, view the following hierarchy as significant to religious ritual:
chokho jaat (Pure Castes) / pani nachalne jaat (Untouchable Castes)
In practice it happens that caste affiliation is associated with material well-being, i.e. the poor are classified as untouchable and the rich as upper castes. This leads to the fact that foreigners of European descent who are not Hindu and must therefore be considered untouchables are classified as upper castes, but are treated as untouchables when it comes to relations related to ritual activities. This includes rituals related to water and rice cooking.
With an average population density of 184 people per km², the highest density of up to 1,400 people is found in the Kathmandu Valley. The urban population is only 6.8%. Larger cities are Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan). Bhaktapur (Hadgaon), Biratnagar, Nepalganj, Birgaj.
The literacy of the population is very low. There are now elementary school even in many remote Himalayan villages. Most of the economically active population is engaged in agriculture. The dominant position in society is held by the feudal upper class.
Peasants who live in the mountains and rural areas make up a large portion of Nepal’s population. The proportion of the urban population is almost the lowest in the world. In recent years, however, the number of urban residents has begun to increase.
Most of the country’s population is concentrated in the south, down on the border with India, in the Terai. Since there is a lot of flat land in this area, it is there that new cities and towns grow.
In the Kathmandu valley is the Kathmandu-Lalitpur conglomerate (Patan). In general, the valley is populated very randomly and densely, with a total population of more than one and a half million people.
According to official data, 90% of the population is Hindu. Nepal is the only country in the world where Hinduism is the state religion.
Approximately 11% of the population identify themselves as Buddhists, especially in the Mustang Kingdom. There are also minorities practicing Islam, Kirat, and belonging to separate animistic beliefs.
Christians do not have the right to officially practice their faith. A small number of Christians are members of closed communities.
Occupation of the population
Nepal’s climate was favorable for agricultural activities. The warm climate and positive temperatures allowed the people of ancient India to grow barley and wheat and fruit trees.
The inhabitants raised cattle and poultry. Due to the peculiarities of the climate, rice was successfully grown and covered vast areas. Cotton was successfully grown. The inhabitants of coastal regions as well as those living along the banks of major rivers were engaged in fishing.
Despite the flood of tourists that swept into Nepal in the 1990s, English is not widely understood. It would be easy to find someone in the Kathmandu Valley who speaks English, but in villages far from the capital city and major tourist centers, it can be difficult. Usually guides and tour guides accompanying tourists speak English quite well.
It is estimated that about 5,000 Nepalis speak Russian, most of them are graduates of universities of the former Soviet Union, Russia or CIS countries, and education in Russia is still very attractive for Nepalis. The tours to the most popular tourist places are conducted not only in English, but also in Russian, but it is usually necessary to book them in advance, even in Russia.