Population: 162 million inhabitants (2009). Density per sq. km: 1,1. Bangladesh has seven administrative areas.
The five largest cities are:
- Dhaka 12,797,394
- Chittagong 3,858,093
- Khulna 1,388,425
- Rajshahi 775,495
- Sylhet 663,198
The Bangladesh Welfare Association Community Development Trust was established in 1978.
The main emphasis here is on adoption of integrated and comprehensive approach taking the family as the basic unit for social services programs with emphasis on family and group development rather that individual development.
More than 50% of the country's GDP comes from the rural sector. Development of this sector is thus crucial for national development.
Bangladesh has many government hospitals and rural health centers. Public sector health system is structured as a hierarchical pyramid with 5 layers: 3 at Primary; 1 at Secondary; 1 at Tertiary.
Tuberculosis, cholera, and malaria continue to pose threats to public health, and since about 2000 outbreaks of dengue fever have been a concern as well. Historically, leprosy also was a serious problem in Bangladesh.
The present government has undertaken various measures to expand the opportunities for domestic and overseas employment. Remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad have marked a steep rise during the nineties due to a massive outflow of workers from Bangladesh. As an export item, manpower exports currently occupy the second position with an annual inflow of over 1 billion U.S. Dollars. The Middle Eastern countries along with Malaysia, South Korea and Japan are the principal destination for Bangladeshi workers.
The education system is divided into three stages:
- Primary (Primary level education is provided in two major categories - General, and Madrasha).
- Secondary (Secondary level education has three major streams - General, Technical - Vocational, and Madrasah).
- Higher Secondary (Higher education has three streams - General (inclusive of pure and applied science, arts, business and social science), Madrasah and Technology Education).
Technology education includes agriculture, engineering, medical, textile, leather technology and ICT. Madrashas (Arabic for educational institution), functional parallel to the three major stages, have similar core courses as in the general stream (primary, secondary and post-secondary) but have additional emphasis on religious studies.
Alongside national educating system, English medium education is also provided by some private enterprises.
Compulsory primary education, free education for girls up to class ten, stipends for female students, food-for educational total literacy movement and nationwide integrated education are some of the major programs being the government in the education sector.
For students who wish to pursue specialization in specific disciplines, there are colleges / universities both self supported and supported by governments.
There are 11 government universities and approximately 20 private universities in Bangladesh. There are 4 engineering colleges, 2845 colleges, institutes, 12553 secondary schools, and 78595 primary schools.
To make higher education accessible to all, an Open University has been set up in the country.
Islam official religion of Bangladesh (was made the official religion by a 1988 constitutional amendment).
- Islam 83%
- Hinduism 11%
- Buddhism 0,7%
- Christianity 0,3%
Most of the people of Bangladesh are Muslims. Most of them are Sunnis, but there is a small Shia community. In rural regions, some beliefs and practices tend to incorporate elements that differ from and often conflict with orthodox Islam. The arrival of Muslims in Bengal at the beginning of the 13th century and the rapid increase in their strength and influence permanently changed the character and culture of the area.
About 1,000,000 people in Bangladesh adheres to the Theravada school of Buddhism.
Hinduism was by far the dominant religion before 12 century.
Christianity had about 600,000 adherents. Roman Catholicism is dominant, the rest being Orthodox and Protestant.