Afghanistan Demographics

What is the population of Afghanistan?

Population 36,643,815
Population Growth Rate 2.25%
Urban Population 23.5%
Population in Major Urban Areas KABUL (capital) 3.097 million
Nationality Noun Afghan(s)
Nationality Adjective Afghan
Ethnic Groups Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
Languages Spoken Pashtu (official) 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Language Note Dari (Persian) and Pashto are the official languages of Afghanistan. Although Pashto has quite an extensive literature, Dari is used for cultural expression and business and government transactions of the many dialects spoken. The Turkish Uzbek, Turkoman, and Kirgiz are most prevalent in the border regions.

Afghanistan Health Information

What are the health conditions in Afghanistan?

Animal Contact Disease (s) Rabies
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 21.8%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 14
Diseases - note Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 56.1%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 35.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 89.9%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) Bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 9.6%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.01%
HIV/Aids Deaths 300
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .4
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 111
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 127
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 119
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk Intermediate
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 460
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 20.1
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 2.2%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .19
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 71%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 46.8%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 23.4%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 6
Underweight - percent of children under five years 32.9%
Vectorborne Disease (s) Malaria

Afghanistan Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Afghanistan?

Life Expectancy at Birth 50 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 51 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 49 Years
Median Age 18 Years
Median Age - female 18 Years
Median Age - male 18 Years

Afghanistan Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Afghanistan median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 39
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 14
Median Age 18 Years
Median Age - female 18 Years
Median Age - male 18 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -2.16
Population Growth Rate 2.25%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .87

Afghanistan Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Afghanistan?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Well-equipped medical facilities are few and far between throughout Afghanistan. European and American medicines are available in limited quantities and may be expensive or difficult to locate. There is a shortage of basic medical supplies. Basic medicines manufactured in Iran, Pakistan, China, and India are available, but their reliability can be questionable. Several Western-style private clinics have opened in Kabul: the DK-German Medical Diagnostic Center (ph. 079-913-6210), French Children’s Hospital (ph. 020-250-0531), and CURE International Hospital (ph. 079-988-3830) offer a variety of basic and routine-type care but are not always open; if you are seeking treatment you should request U.S. or Western health practitioners.

Afghan public hospitals should be avoided. Individuals without government licenses or even medical degrees often operate private clinics; there is no public agency that monitors their operations. You will not be able to find Western-trained medical personnel in most parts of the country outside Kabul, although there are some international aid groups temporarily providing basic medical assistance in various cities and villages. For any medical treatment, payment is required in advance. Commercial medical evacuation capability from Afghanistan is limited and could take days to arrange. Even medevac companies that claim to serve the world may not agree to come to Afghanistan. If you have medevac insurance, you should confirm with the insurance provider that medevac assistance is available in Afghanistan and which clinics they recommend for evaluation.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Education

What is school like in Afghanistan?

Literacy - female 21%
Literacy - male 51%
Literacy - total population 28.1%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 7 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 11 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 9 Years

Afghanistan Literacy

Can people in Afghanistan read?

Literacy - female 21%
Literacy - male 51%
Literacy - total population 28.1%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Pashtu (official) 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism

Afghanistan Crime

Is Afghanistan a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

A large portion of the Afghan population is unemployed, and many among the unemployed have moved to urban areas. These factors may directly contribute to crime and lawlessness. Diplomats and international relief workers have reported incidents of robberies and household burglaries as well as kidnappings and assaults. Any U.S. citizen who enters Afghanistan should remain vigilant for possible banditry, including violent attacks.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.

Afghanistan Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Afghanistan, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own and may not afford the protections available to you under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. In some areas of Afghanistan, you could be detained for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. Taking pictures of military installations or personnel may result in questioning or detention. Possession of alcohol and certainly driving under the influence of alcohol could land you in jail for three to six months. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Afghanistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. If you break local laws in Afghanistan, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what constitutes legal and illegal actions in the area where you are traveling. Persons violating Afghan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Although the Afghan constitution allows the free exercise of religion, proselytizing may be viewed as contrary to the beliefs of Islam and considered harmful to society. Authorities take these matters very seriously. Afghan law carries a maximum penalty of death for those charged with proselytizing if convicted. Evidence may consist of possession of non-Islamic religious material, especially in local languages. Allegations of conversion of Afghan citizens are taken particularly seriously. The testimony of three individuals or a group is enough to convict someone of proselytizing. The same penalty exists in law for Afghan citizens who convert to another religion. All Afghan citizens are considered Muslim from birth. Converts are subject to arrest regardless of where the conversion took place, and Afghan-U.S. dual nationals are also subject to this law.

U.S. citizens have also been arrested by police in cases involving debt to Afghans. In Afghanistan, debts, and business disputes are not exclusively civil matters as may be the case in the United States. Instead, the aggrieved party may successfully have a U.S. citizen arrested in cases where a debt is alleged to be owed to an Afghan. The Ministries of Commerce and Interior, Afghan Investment Support Agency, the Afghan National Police, and the courts have all played roles in recent disputes involving U.S. citizens. If involved in a commercial dispute, hiring an Afghan attorney early can be beneficial. A list of English-speaking attorneys in the consular district of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul can be found on the Embassy’s website. The list comprises attorneys in Afghanistan officially registered with the Afghan Ministry of Justice who have expressed a willingness to carry out legal services for U.S. citizens. The Embassy does not endorse any particular attorney and the list is not comprehensive; we encourage those seeking legal advice in Afghanistan to utilize other means of finding an attorney.

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained.

Afghanistan Population Comparison

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