Page last modified 19 August 2023

 

Afghanistan

Community

Area 652,230 square kilometres (land area 652,230 square kilometres)

Population, change on previous decade.

Due to political instability, population figures are estimates only.


5,000,000 (1900)

7,000,000 (1938)

8,150,000 (1950)

9,000,000 (1960) +10.4%

11,126,000 (1970) +23.6%

13,250,000 (1980) +19.1%

12,250,000 (1990)* -7.8%

20,800,000 (2000) +69.8%

29,200,000 (2010) +40.4%

38,928,000 (2020) +33.3%


* The population fell considerably after 1979; Many Afghans fled abroad or were killed in warfare.

Ethnicity, %

Year

Hazara

Pashtun

Tajik

Uzbek

1950 estimate

3.3

60.5

30.7

5.0

1978

estimate

9.0

50.0

25.0

9.0

2000 estimate

19.0

38.0

25.0

18.0

2013 estimate

9.0

42.0

27.0

9.0

Refugee numbers

In 2002 an estimated 4 million Afghans had sought refuge outside Afghanistan; the majority in Pakistan (2 million) and Iran (1.5 million).A further 1.2 million Afghans were internally displaced within their country.From 2002 the USA began an initiativeto persuade Afghans abroad to return; an estimated 1.6 million have gone back to Afghanistan since then.


Religion %,

 

Hindu

Islam Shia

Islam Sunni

1900

0.1

99.5 All Islam

 

1970

0.6

99.3 All Islam

 

1990

 

74.0

25.0

2000

 

84.0

15.0

2009

 

80.0

19.0

2013

 

87.0

12.0

 

Birth and death rates

 

Fertility Rate

Birth

Rate

Infant

Mortality

Death

Rate

% Aged

Under 15

% Aged

Over

65

% Urban

1950

 

48.0 (+16.0)

227.0

32.0

46.4

1.9

5.8

1960

7.5

53.0 (+20.6)

245.7

32.4

42.1

2.8

8.2

1970

7.1

52.0 (+24.4)

204.8

27.6

44.2

2.6

11.5

1980

7.7

52.0 (+29.7)

163.0

22.3

45.9

2.4

15.7

1990

8.0

52.0 (+36.4)

120.2

15.6

48.0

2.2

18.3

2000

7.7

51.0 (+39.0)

90.8

12.0

48.6

2.2

21.3

2010

6.3

44.4 (+36.3)

65.7

8.1

47.8

2.3

24.7

2015

4.8

34.0 (+27.1)

54.9

6.9

44.8

2.5

24.8

2017

4.6

33.2 (+26.6)

49.5

6.6

43.7

 

25.3

2018

 

 

47.9

 

43.1

2.6

25.5

Life expectancy,


31.5 (1950); 31.0(M), 32.0(F)

32.3 (1960); 31.6 (M), 33.1 (F)

36.7 (1970); 35.9(M), 37.5 (F)

41.9 (1980); 41.1 (M), 42.7 (F)

49.9 (1990); 48.9 (M), 50.9 (F)

55.5 (2000); 54.4 (M), 56.7 (F)

61.2 (2010); 60.0 (M), 62.4 (F)

65.0 (2020); 63.5 (M), 66.5 (F)

 


Population of principal cities, 1,000s

 

Herat

KABUL1

Kandahar2

Mazar I Sherif

1850

 

60

 

 

1880

 

75

 

 

1900

12

140

30

 

1937

50

 

55

30

1948

76

206

77

42

1950

 

307

 

 

1965

62

435

115

40

1975

109

749

140

60

1980

155

1,000

180

105

1990

187

1,565

238

128

2000

 

2,500

300

170

2006

397

 

325

375

2010

 

3,300

480

 

2013

436

 

500

 

2015

 

4,000

 

693

1Kabul has existed for some 3,000 years.Its name means �warehouse� in Persian. Between 1504 and 1526 Kabul was the capital of the Mogul Empire.In 1800 Kabul replaced Kandahar as capital of Afghanistan.

2Kandahar is named after Alexander the Great (Iskandar) who invaded the area in 330 BC.Like later foreign occupiers of Afghanistan, he failed to secure lasting success there.When Afghanistan became independent in 1747, Kandahar became the capital.

Wealth; Gross Domestic Product (nominal values)

 

GDP,

US$ million

Total GDP,

% of USA

GDP per capita,

US$

GDP per capita

% of USA

1958

649

 

 

 

1960

 

 

60

2.00

1965

 

 

101

2.64

1970

 

 

157

2.99

1980

 

 

275

2.18

1985

3,300

0.08

 

 

1990

 

 

250

1.04

1995

5,500

0.07

 

 

2000

 

 

260

0.71

2005

7,200

0.05

250

0.56

2010

15,160

0.10

553

1.14

2015

19,703

0.11

585

1.04

2016

19,469

0.10

562

0.98


GDP by primary sector

 

Agriculture

% GDP

Agriculture

% employed

Industry

% GDP

Industry

% employed

Services

% GDP

Services

% employed

1960

 

85.0

 

6.0

 

9.0

1980

50.0

79.0

18.0

8.0

 

13.0

1988

 

 

 

 

13.3

11.0

1995

52.0

 

 

 

16.0

 

2002

49.1

 

19.8

 

29.7

 

2008

31.0

73.6

26.0

5.7

43.0

15.7

2012

25.0

 

21.0

 

54.0

 

2015

22.0

 

22.0

 

56.0

 

Communications

Language, % Official; Iranian (Daro) and Pashtun. Turkmen, Uzbek, also spoken.

 

Persian(Dari)

Pashtu

Turkic

Other

1980

 

56.0

 

 

2000

50.0

35.0

11.0

4.0

 

Literacy


8.0% (1960)

12.0% (1975)

20.0% (1980); 33.2% (M), 5.8% (F)

23.5% (1985); 39.0% (M), 8.0% (F)

31.5% (1995); 46.2% (M), 16.1% (F)

28.1% (2004); 43.1% (M), 12.6% (F)

38.2% (2015); 52.0% (M), 24.2% (F)


Physical communications � roads,

In 1993 women were banned from driving, but this ban was rescinded in 2003.

 

Roads (km)

Surfaced (km)

Motor vehicles

Cars

Commercial Vehicles

1946

6,700

 

 

 

 

1950

9,500

 

5,200

975

3,375

1957

 

 

 

2,473

 

1960

 

 

 

 

5,522

1964

 

 

20,000

 

 

1977

18,580

 

 

 

 

1978

 

 

 

26,000

26,700

1982

 

2,600

 

 

 

1988

 

 

50,000

25,000

 

2001

20,720

3,120

 

33,500

26,500

2005

30,000

 

910,000

 

 

2010

42,150

12,350

1,240,000

 

 

2013

 

 

1,543,000

655,350

 

Railways; Afghan governments of the 19th century discouraged rail construction within the country in case this facilitated invasions. In the 1920s a short (7 km) tramway was opened in Kabul; it closed in the 1940s. Currently (2017) there is a 15km section of line from the Uzbek border to the Afghan town of Kheyrabad; also a 10km line from the Turkmen border to the Afghan town of Torghundi. In 2012 a 12km line opened from the Pakistan border to the Afghan town of Spin Boldak.

Planned railway links; Cross border links from Tajikistan and Iran into Afghanistan are also planned or under construction (2017). These lines may be linked up to create rail corridors across Afghanistan, and link India to Iran by rail. These will all be goods line with no passenger service envisaged as yet.

Electronic communications TV broadcasting began 1964

 

Telephones (landlines)

Mobile Telephones

Radios

Televisions

PCs

Internet Users

1938

 

 

1,000

 

 

 

1949

 

 

4,900

 

 

 

1950

3,900

 

8,000

 

 

 

1960

7,500

 

24,000

 

 

 

1976

 

 

900,000

 

 

 

1978

23,200

 

 

 

 

 

1979

 

 

 

20,000

 

 

1980

25,800

 

1,000,000

35,000

 

 

1990

36,200

 

1,720,000

137,000

 

 

2000

29,200

 

2,950,000

 

 

1,000

2002

 

12,200

 

312,000

 

 

2005

 

1,200,000

 

 

 

30,000

2008

 

 

 

 

 

500,000

2010

 

13,000,000

 

 

 

1,100,000

2012

13,500

 

 

 

 

 

2016

 

21,603,000

 

 

 

3,532,000

Tourism: Visitors to Afghanistan, Since 2000, only a few hundred tourists a year visit Afghanistan.


96,222 (1773)

250,000 (1977)

9,200 (1981)

9,000 (1987)

4,000 (1996)

4,000 (1998)