The three most populated dzongkhags, Thimphu, Samtse and Chukha also have the highest number of households with poor sanitation facilities.

The Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017, show that at least two percent of households across the country do not have a toilet facility. This scenario is more prominent in rural (3 percent) than in urban areas (0.4 percent).

Across the country, 3,325 households reported that they use bush, open field or no toilet to relieve themselves.

However, the number of such households marked a huge drop from 12,747 or 10.1 percent in 2005.

More than 74 percent of households have improved toilet facilities that are flush toilet, ventilated improved pit (VIP), pit latrine with slab, and composting toilet. The remaining households (25.2 percent or 41,039) used unimproved toilet facilities.

“A much sharper focus on the disparities in access to sanitation among dzongkhags will allow for targeted interventions,” the report states.

There are 4,908 households in Thimphu, 4,103 in Samtse and 4,082 in Chukha who use improper toilet. Haa, Lhuentse, and Gasa have less than 1,000 households each.

About 29,973 households across the country did not have reliable drinking water and about 1,400 households have to walk more than an hour to fetch drinking water.

There are 163,001 regular households in Bhutan, which is a substantial increase (29.2%) from 126,115 regular households recorded in the 2005 Census. The average household size has reduced to 3.9 persons in 2017 from 4.6 in 2005.

Thimphu dzongkhag registered the highest number of households with 61,344. Gasa with 909 and Haa with 2,952 recorded the lowest. The number of persons enumerated in regular households came to 632,801 or 87 percent of the population. The remaining 94,344 persons were enumerated in institutional households (88,024) and as transient population (6,320).

Thimphu and Samtse have the highest mean/average household size with 4.2 and 4.1 persons per household respectively. Trashigang and Pemagatshel recorded the lowest household size, both with 3.5 persons. The family size was found larger in urban areas than in rural areas with four against 3.8.

The average household size is defined as the ratio of the total population in regular households to the number of regular households in an area. The average household size is calculated based on the members present in the regular households as well as members absent and outside Bhutan. Those persons who were enumerated as visitors were also included.

About 98.6 parent of the total households have access to improved drinking water as of 2017 as compared to 84.5 percent in 2005.

Among the dzongkhags, Thimphu (99.4 percent) and Lhuentse (99.2 percent) have the highest proportion of households with access to improved sources of drinking water, while Gasa has the lowest (95.3 percent).

There are more households using piped water inside the dwelling in urban areas (75.6 percent) than in rural areas (31.5 percent). About 1.3 percent of households in rural areas have reported unprotected well/ spring/rivers/ streams/lake/pond/dam as their main source of drinking water.

Reliable water supply is defined as the availability of water at least during the critical hours of the day and adequate for washing and cooking.

In terms of food sufficiency, at least 6.2 percent of households or 10,048 households reported having experienced food insufficiency or not having enough food to feed all household members during the 12 months before the census day. More households in rural areas (8.1 percent) reported food insufficiency than in urban areas (2.9 percent).

The incidences were reported more in Chukha and Samtse dzongkhags with more than 1,000 households each.

More Bhutanese are living in rented apartments than in their own homes. Rented housing units increased to 34.9 percent in 2017 from 22.4 percent in 2005. The proportion of owner-occupied housing units decreased to 50.7 percent in 2017 from 59.1 percent in 2005.

In rural areas, 72.2 percent of households or 74,105 households live in their own housing units, 17 percent are tenants, and 10.8 percent live in housing provided free of rent by private or government or other tenure arrangement. In contrast, only 14.2 percent of households or 8,559 households in urban areas live in their own housing units, the majority are tenants (65.3 percent), and 20.6 percent live in housing units.

More than 42,000 households in rural areas lives in two rooms or less in rural areas while at the national level, the figure is 62,088 or 38 percent of the households.

There are 14,387 households in rural and 11,100 in the urban areas who shared toilets. In Thimphu the figure is even higher with more than 10,600 households sharing toilets in the dzongkhag including the thromde.

While most households had metal sheets for roofing, close to 8,000 (7,969) households in rural areas had roofs made of thatch, bamboo, shingles, or tarpaulin sheets. 1,810 households in urban areas and 8,584 households had such roofings across the country.

Most households used electricity for lighting and cooking but there were 85 households using personal generator,  287 used LPG for lighting.

There were 1,141 households who had to walk more than six hours to reach the nearest road head.



Tshering Palden


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