Map Bhutan
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Bhutan


Background: 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 Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which would introduce major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. In July 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan's ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, and the cabinet acted as a caretaker regime until democratic elections for seats to the country's first parliament were completed in March 2008. The king ratified the country's first constitution in July 2008.
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Area land: 38,394 sq km
Area water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
Country name conventional short form: Bhutan
Country name former: Kingdom of Bhutan
Population: 708,427
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.);
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.)
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.);
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.);
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.);
Nationality: 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%;
Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%;
Languages: Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 47%; male: 60%; female: 34% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.526 billion (2010 est.); $3.301 billion (2009 est.); $3.123 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $1.397 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 6.8% (2010 est.); 5.7% (2009 est.); 2.7% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,000 (2010 est.); $4,800 (2009 est.); $4,600 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.6%; industry: 45%; services: 37.4% (2009);
Population below poverty line: 23.2% (2008);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.3%; highest 10%: 37.6% (2003);
Labor force: 299,900;
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);
Budget: revenues: $302 million; expenditures: $588 million;
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (FY09/10)

Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism;
Industrial production growth rate: NA%;
Electricity - production: 1.48 billion kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 184 million kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - exports: 1.296 billion kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2009 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.



(Weekly), Thimphu

Bhutan in the News

Expensive H.I.V. Drugs Further Instability in South Asia

Although concern among the South Asian population about the spread and impact of H.I.V./AIDS is significant, governments continue to give the problem a low priority.