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Bhutan (2008)

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Bhutan 2008 year

Administrative divisions 20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
Age structure 0-14 years: 38.6% (male 465,340/female 433,184)

15-64 years: 57.4% (male 688,428/female 647,134)

65 years and over: 4% (male 47,123/female 46,640) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Airports 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Area total: 47,000 sq km

land: 47,000 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative about half the size of Indiana
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 some 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, leaving the remaining cabinet to act as a caretaker regime until a new government assumes power following parliamentary elections. Bhutan will complete its transition to full democracy in 2008, when its first fully democratic elections to a new parliament - expected to be completed by March 2008 - and a concomitant referendum on the draft constitution will take place.
Birth rate 33.28 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $272 million

expenditures: $350 million

note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)
Capital name: Thimphu

geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E

time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Coastline 0 km (landlocked)
Constitution none; note - a draft constitution was unveiled in March 2005 and is expected to be adopted following the election of a new National Assembly in 2008
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan

conventional short form: Bhutan

local long form: Druk Gyalkhap

local short form: Druk Yul
Death rate 12.46 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $593 million (2004)
Diplomatic representation from the US the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Diplomatic representation in the US none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; address: 763 First Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551

consulate(s) general: New York
Disputes - international over 100,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps since 1990; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a boundary alignment to resolve substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lies in Bhutan's northwest
Economic aid - recipient $90.02 million; note - substantial aid from India (2005)
Economy - overview The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower exports to India drove GDP growth to over 20% in 2007
Electricity - consumption 380 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 1.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 20 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 2 billion kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m

highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m
Environment - current issues soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Ethnic groups Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Exchange rates ngultrum per US dollar - NA (2007), 45.279 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003)

note: the ngultrum is pegged to the Indian rupee
Executive branch chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him

head of government: Prime Minister Kinzang DORJI (since August 2007)

cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch, approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde), members nominated by the monarch

elections: none; the monarch is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a new National Assembly is expected in 2008
Exports 1.5 billion kWh (2005)
Exports $350 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 0 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners India 54.5%, Hong Kong 34.6%, Bangladesh 6.9% (2006)
Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
Flag description divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 24.7%

industry: 37.2%

services: 38.1% (2005)
GDP - real growth rate 8.8% (2005 est.)
Geographic coordinates 27 30 N, 90 30 E
Geography - note landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 20 million kWh (2005)
Imports $320 million c.i.f. (2006)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 1,138 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities fuel and lubricants, grain, aircraft, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners India 76%, Japan 5.5%, Germany 3.2% (2006)
Independence 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
Industrial production growth rate 9.3% (1996 est.)
Industries cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Infant mortality rate total: 96.37 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 94.09 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 98.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 5.5% (2005 est.)
International organization participation ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Irrigated land 400 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note - the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court, which will serve as chief court of appeal
Labor force NA

note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 63%

industry: 6%

services: 31% (2004 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,075 km

border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Land use arable land: 2.3%

permanent crops: 0.43%

other: 97.27% (2005)
Languages Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Legal system based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 members elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; to serve three-year terms); note - a new bicameral parliament will be established in 2008

elections: first elections to be held in December 2007 and spring 2008; note - local elections last held August 2005 (next to be held in 2008)

election results: NA
Life expectancy at birth total population: 55.17 years

male: 55.38 years

female: 54.96 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 47%

male: 60%

female: 34% (2003 est.)
Location Southern Asia, between China and India
Map references Asia
Maritime claims none (landlocked)
Military branches Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2008)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1% (2005 est.)
National holiday National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Nationality noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Bhutanese
Natural hazards violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Natural resources timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders Druk Pheunsum Tshogpa or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Sangay NGEDUP]
Political pressure groups and leaders Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)
Population 2,327,849

note: the Factbook population estimate is inconsistent with the 2005 Bhutan census results; both data are being reviewed and when completed, the results will be posted on The World Factbook Web site ( later this year (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 31.7% (2003)
Population growth rate 2.082% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)
Religions Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.074 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.064 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female

total population: 1.066 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services

domestic: very low teledensity; domestic service is very poor especially in rural areas; wireless service available since 2003

international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2007)
Telephones - main lines in use 31,500 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 82,100 (2006)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2007)
Terrain mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Total fertility rate 4.67 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 2.5% (2004)
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