Hiren Pandit: Currently, 65.51 per cent of the population in Bangladesh is between 15 and 64 years of age. Experts describe this population as a working demographic dividend. Experts say that economic activity will be more active due to the large population. That is, it is possible to accelerate economic growth by using them. This is positive for Bangladesh in the sense that it can utilize the working population.
If the birth rate continued to rise, it would not be possible to employ the working population. As a result, unemployment took a terrible shape. Experts say that the current level of unemployment in Bangladesh will decrease if the rate of population growth continues to decline.
But in the next seventeen to eighteen years that situation will begin to change. Because then the population over 65 will increase. There will be a favourable environment for Bangladesh till 2038. Then the elderly population will continue to grow. The 2022 census has both positive and negative aspects for Bangladesh. According to the 2022 census, the population aged 65 and above is 5.88 per cent. If it reaches seven per cent, it is described as an ageing society. According to the United Nations population report, the population of Bangladesh will be 204 million by the year 2050 even if the birth rate decreases. The population of Bangladesh will remain stable from 2057 to 2064. Because then birth and death rates will be equal. He also mentioned that the total population will continue to decrease slowly.
American economist Professor Hollis B. Shanari said in 1973 that it would take 125 years for Bangladesh to reach $900 per capita income. Didn’t even have to wait half the time. In 52 years of independence, the per capita income of this country stood at 2824 dollars in 2022. The number of poor people in the fiscal year 1972-73 was only $88 per capita. Bangladesh is now one of the fastest-growing economic countries in the world. It recently received a recommendation from the United Nations to exit the Least Developed Country category after being promoted from low-income to lower-middle-income countries in the World Bank classification in 2015. Bangladesh is celebrating 52 years of independence with all the unique achievements in socio-economic development.
Bangladesh’s success in poverty alleviation is much appreciated in the international arena. Jim Yong Kim, the then president of the World Bank, came to Bangladesh on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 2016 to honour Bangladesh’s progress in reducing poverty at a significant rate in the face of hundreds of obstacles. According to the data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the poverty situation in Bangladesh was first calculated in 1973-74. At that time the poverty rate in the country was 82 per cent. However, indirect estimates of GDP 2018-19 show that 20.05 per cent of people are poor and 10.05 per cent of people are still extreme or hardcore poor.
In addition to per capita income, the United Nations considers Bangladesh worthy of transition from LDC based on the improvement in other social indicators including education, health, and economic sustainability. In 2026, Bangladesh will leave the LDC and join the ranks of non-LDC developing countries like India, China, and Malaysia. For this reason, preparation for the transition period of the next 4 years is very important for Bangladesh. A strong strategy needs to be developed in coordination with the SDGs, the 8th Five Year Plan and the Vision Plan for a sustainable transition.
There are recommendations to increase the purchasing power of the local market and people, diversify exports, increase employment, develop infrastructure, reduce corruption, expand quality education and health care, and above all, reduce wealth and income inequality.
In the preliminary report of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics 2022 Population and Housing Census, the population of the country is now 16 crores 51 lakh 58 thousand 616. Among them, the number of men is 8 crore 17 lakh 12 thousand 824 and the number of women is 8 crore 33 lakh 47 thousand 206. There are 12629 people in the Hijra community. The highest population in the Dhaka division is 4 crore 42 lakh 15 thousand 107 people. Barisal division has the lowest population of 91 lakh 102 people. The most densely populated area is Dhaka South City Corporation (39353 people per square kilometer). The least densely populated area is Rangpur City Corporation (3444 people per sq km). There are 98 men against every 100 women in the country. In terms of gender, Dhaka has the highest number of 103.40 people and Chattogram has the lowest number of people (93.38).
Although the population has increased, the growth rate has decreased. According to the latest 2011 census, this rate was 1.46 per cent. In the 2022 census that has come down to a record rate of 1.22 per cent. The population growth rate was highest in the Dhaka division (1.74 per cent) and lowest in Barisal (0.79 per cent). However, the country’s population growth rate has decreased, but population density has increased. In 2011, the population per square kilometre was 976 people, in 2022 it increased to 1119 people. The highest density is in the Dhaka division (2156 persons per square kilometre) and the lowest in the Barishal division (688 persons per square kilometre).
Data were collected across the country in June for the census. The report was recently released at an event in Dhaka. according to the 2011 census, the population of the country was 14 crore 40 lakh 43 thousand 697 people. Among them, the number of men was more than women. Then the number of men was 7 crores 21 lakh 9 thousand 796 and women were 7 crores 19 lakh 33 thousand 901. That is, the number of women has increased more than men in the country in the last ten years.
All that information processing, verification, and review have been done using digital infrastructure, and software. For this, more than 350,000 data collectors working at the field level were tabbed. They entered the information in that tab while collecting the data. It then goes to the main server via the internet. It is claimed that by doing so, there is no chance of the same person or additional being counted twice. This work has been done in Geographical Information System (GIS) with web-based Integrated Census Management System (ICMS) ready.
The server of Bangladesh Data Center Company in Gazipur has been used to store these field-level data. From there, these data come to the server of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. As these data are fully encrypted, everyone’s personal information will be 100% safe. In addition to the census, the BBS has collected 35 types of data, including household census and financial status.
After reviewing these new data in the census, a picture of the population of Bangladesh, their financial status, and family status will be available. Along with that, how many houses there are, and how many people live in those houses have also been collected. At the same time, the data collectors are also collecting data on the type of house, toilet facilities, source of electricity, water and cooking fuel etc. Officials say that these data of census and household census will help in research, national elections, development planning of the country, budget allocation etc. The first census and household census in Bangladesh were conducted in February 1974. Every 10 years census and the household census were conducted in 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011. But due to the infection of the coronavirus, instead of 2021, it was delayed by one year.
According to the BBS, the population of Bangladesh at that time was 70.63 million. In the last census of 2011, the population of Bangladesh was 144.23 million. It is estimated that the population will increase by at least two crores every 10 years.
The writer is a columnist and researcher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org