SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - NEPAL
General Health of the Population 7
The population of Nepal increased from 11.6 million people in 1971 to 25.8 million in 2006. As per the Population Census 2001, 39.3 percent of population was below 15 years and 6.5 percent was 60 years and above. About 54.2 percent of population was between 15-59 years.
Life expectancy at birth has been increasing for both males and females in Nepal. It has increased from 42.0 years for males and 40.0 years for females in 1971 to 55.0 years and 53.5 years for males and females, respectively, in 1991. Based on the latest statistics for 2003, life expectancy was 60 years for males and 61 years for females.
Fertility rate is defined as the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country. A rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, resulting in relative stability in terms of total numbers. Rates above two children indicate populations growing in size and whose median age is declining. Higher rates may also indicate difficulties for families, in some situations, to feed and educate their children and for women to enter the labor force.8 According to the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey; the average fertility estimate for 2006 is 3.1. For 2001 it was 4.1 as against 5.1 during 1984-86. There is significant difference in the fertility rate for urban (2.1) and rural (3.3) areas.
7 WHO, Nepal, National Health System Profile, www.searo.who.int/LinkFiles/Nepal_Profile-Nepal.pdf