One and a half centuries of demographic transition in Nepal

J Health Popul Nutr. 2001 Sep;19(3):160-6.


This paper examines the past and prospective demographic transition in Nepal. Sparse data from the pre-1961 censuses suggest that mortality decline began during 1930s and allow rough estimates of fertility and mortality levels prior to 1961. Fertility decline began sometime between 1961 and early 1980s, with the total fertility rate declining from about 6 to 5 children per woman by early 1990s. The four scenarios of future fertility decline and population growth presented in the paper help draw several conclusions. A continuation of the recent slow pace of fertility decline would result in a total population of slightly over 100 million by the end of the next century (Scenario I). More rapid decline, similar to the median experience of Asian countries, would reduce this growth to below 60 million (Scenario III). Still more rapid decline, close to the limit of what has been observed in countries that have experienced the most rapid declines, could reduce the growth to 40 million (Scenario IV). It is possible, if not at present particularly plausible, that very rapid decline might be achieved by a combination of smaller family sizes and rising age of childbearing. An approach to reaching zero population growth rapidly--and anything less than a doubling of current population--may be ruled out with a high degree of certainty (Scenario II and IV). A doubling of population to 40 million is the least possible growth that can be expected. At the current rate of fertility decline, population will increase to 100 million during this century. If a smaller population in this range is considered to be in the national interest, it is as important to work for more rapid fertility decline as it is to work for accommodation of a much larger population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Birth Rate / trends
  • Humans
  • Mortality / trends
  • Nepal
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Population Growth