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Afghanistan People

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Afghanistan's ethnically and linguistically mixed population reflects its location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading from Central Asia into South and Southwest Asia. Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic group, accounting for about 38% of the population. Tajik (25%), Hazara (19%), Uzbek (6%), Aimaq, Turkmen, Baluch and other small groups also are represented. Dari (Afghan Persian) and Pashto are official languages. Dari is spoken by more than one-third of the population as a first language and serves as a lingua franca for most Afghans, though the Taliban use Pashto. Tajik, Uzbek, and Turkmen are spoken widely in the north. Smaller groups throughout the country also speak more than 70 other languages and numerous dialects.

Afghanistan is an Islamic country. An estimated 84% of the population is Sunni, following the Hanafi school of jurisprudence; the remainder is predominantly Shi'a, mainly Hazara. Despite attempts during the years of communist rule to secularize Afghan society, Islamic practices pervade all aspects of life. In fact, Islam served as the principal basis for expressing opposition to the communists and the Soviet invasion. Likewise, Islamic religious tradition and codes, together with traditional practices, provide the principal means of controlling personal conduct and settling legal disputes. Excluding urban populations in the principal cities, most Afghans are divided into tribal and other kinship-based groups, which follow traditional customs and religious practices.

Population: 26,813,057 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  42.2% (male 5,775,921; female 5,538,836)

15-64 years:  55.01% (male 7,644,242; female 7,106,568)

65 years and over:  2.79% (male 394,444; female 353,046) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.48% (2001 est.)

note:  this rate reflects the continued return of refugees from Iran
Birth rate: 41.42 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 17.72 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 11.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years:  1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years:  1.08 male(s)/female

65 years and over:  1.12 male(s)/female

total population:  1.06 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 147.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  46.24 years

male:  46.97 years

female:  45.47 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.79 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun:  Afghan(s)

adjective:  Afghan
Ethnic groups: Pashtun 38%, Tajik 25%, Hazara 19%, minor ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and others) 12%, Uzbek 6%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%
Languages: Pashtu 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over can read and write

total population:  31.5%

male:  47.2%

female:  15% (1999 est.)


Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook

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