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CIA - The World Factbook -- Bhutan

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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 17 October, 2006

Map of Bhutan

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Bhutan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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. A referendum date has yet to be named.
   Geography    Bhutan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
400 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
   People    Bhutan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: other estimates range as low as 810,000 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 38.9% (male 458,801/female 426,947)
15-64 years: 57.1% (male 671,057/female 631,078)
65 years and over: 4% (male 46,217/female 45,623) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20.4 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 20.6 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.1% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33.65 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.7 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 98.41 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 96.14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 100.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 54.78 years
male: 55.02 years
female: 54.53 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Definition Field Listing
noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Definition Field Listing
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Definition Field Listing
Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)
   Government    Bhutan Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
monarchy; special treaty relationship with India
Definition Field Listing
name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 39 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
18 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Dagana, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
note: there may be two new districts named Gasa and Yangtse
Definition Field Listing
8 August 1949 (from India)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Definition Field Listing
no written constitution or bill of rights; note - in 2001, the king commissioned the drafting of a constitution, and in March 2005 publicly unveiled it; is awaiting national referendum
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
each family has one vote in village-level elections; note - in late 2003 Bhutan's legislature passed a new election law
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK (since 24 July 1972)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers Sangay NGEDUP (since 5 September 2005)
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
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; members serve three-year terms)
elections: local elections last held August 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: NA
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
no legal parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
AsDB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none; note - Bhutan has a Permanent Mission to the UN; address: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 826-1919; FAX [1] (212) 826-2998; the Bhutanese mission to the UN has consular jurisdiction in the US
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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
   Economy    Bhutan Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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 90% 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. Bhutan's hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources. 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 like industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.9 billion (2003 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 45%
industry: 10%
services: 45% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 93%
industry: 2%
services: 5%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $146 million
expenditures: $152 million; including capital expenditures of $NA
note: the government of India fi$NAnces nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (FY95/96 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Definition Field Listing
cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.882 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
250.3 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
1.51 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
10 million kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,100 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$154 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 33.2%, Germany 13.6%, France 13.5%, South Korea 7.8%, US 7.7%, Thailand 5.8%, Italy 5.1% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$196 million c.i.f. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Hong Kong 68.4%, Mexico 20.8%, France 3.9% (2005)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$245 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
substantial aid from India and other nations
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
ngultrum per US dollar - 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003), 48.61 (2002), 47.186 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Bhutan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
32,700 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: telecommunications facilities are poor
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 (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Bhutan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
   Military    Bhutan Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Bhutan Army: Royal Bodyguard, Royal Bhutan Police (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 483,860
females age 18-49: 453,683 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 314,975
females age 18-49: 296,833 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 23,939
females age 18-49: 21,979 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8.29 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Bhutan Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
approximately 105,000 Bhutanese have lived decades as refugees in Nepal, 90% of whom reside in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian separatists

This page was last updated on 17 October, 2006

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