Demographics of Afghanistan

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File:Ethnolinguistic Groups Afghanistan.gif
Ethno-linguistic groups in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's ethnically and linguistically mixed population reflects its location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading from Central Asia into South and Southwest Asia. Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic group, accounting for about 42% of the population. Tajik (27%), Hazara (9%), Uzbek (9%), Aimaq (4%), Turkmen (3%), Baluch (2%) and other small groups make up the remaining 4%. Persian (local name: Dari) and Pashto are official languages. Dari is spoken by more than one-third of the population as a first language and serves as a lingua franca for most Afghans, though the Taliban use Pashto. Tajik, Uzbek, and Turkmen are spoken widely in the north. Smaller groups throughout the country also speak more than 70 other languages and numerous dialects.

Afghanistan is an Islamic country. An estimated 80% of the population is Sunni, following the Hanafi school of jurisprudence; the remainder is predominantly Shi'a, mainly Hazara. Despite attempts during the years of communist rule to secularize Afghan society, Islamic practices pervade all aspects of life. In fact, Islam served as the principal basis for expressing opposition to the communists and the Soviet invasion. Likewise, Islamic religious tradition and codes, together with traditional practices, provide the principal means of controlling personal conduct and settling legal disputes. Excluding urban populations in the principal cities, most Afghans are divided into tribal and other kinship-based groups, which follow traditional customs and religious practices.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook


Demographics of Afghanistan, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.
29,928,987 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 44.7% (male 6,842,857/female 6,524,485)
15-64 years: 52.9% (male 8,124,077/female 7,713,603)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 353,193/female 370,772) (2005 est.)

Median age

Total: 17.56 years
Male: 17.55 years
Female: 17.57 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate

Note: this rate does not take into consideration the recent war and its continuing impact (2005 est.)

Birth rate

47.02 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate

20.75 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate

21.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 163.07 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 167.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 158.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 42.9 years
Male: 42.71 years
Female: 43.1 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.75 children born/woman (2005 est.)


HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA


Noun: Afghan(s)
Adjective: Afghan

Ethnic groups

Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%


Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%


Pashtu (official) 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism.


Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 36%
Male: 51%
Female: 21% (1999 est.)


Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2005 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

es:Demografía de Afganistán no:Afghanistans demografi pt:Demografia do Afeganistão