Thimphu’s population will increase by 4,200 people annually, according to population projections of the National Statistics Bureau (NSB).

This growth trend will make Thimphu the most populated dzongkhag by 2047 with at least 30 percent of the country’s people settled in the capital. Today, Thimphu is the only dzongkhag with a population over 100,000 and the NSB projects the city to have 263,152 people in the next three decades.

In three decades, more than half of the Bhutanese population will reside in urban areas.

NSB projects that Paro, Chukha, Sarpang, Samtse and Wangdue Phodrang will have a population over 50,000 by 2047. In the same period, Paro which is estimated to have about 74,067, would take over Chukha and become the second most populated dzongkhag.

The second fastest to grow would be Chukha, with a population of 68,025 people, and an annual addition of 160 people. It has 33,109 people residing at the moment.

While the population in Chukha will increase but only about 300 people in every five years, the population in Paro will increase by at least 5,000 every five years.

According to the population projection report, Bhutan is urbanising and the share of the urban population increased from 30 percent in 2005 to 37 percent in 2017. As the process of urbanisation is projected to continue, the share of urban population is projected to rise to 56 percent by 2047.

“The consequence is that in absolute terms, the size of rural population will decline over time, falling below 400,000 soon after 2042,” the report states.

Gasa and Lhuentse will continue to remain the least populated dzongkhags with a projection of 5,932 and 7,288 people respectively by 2047.

By 2047, Dagana will have 27,827 people, Haa is projected to have 13,599 people, Mongar 27,923 people, Pemagatshel 22,383 people and Punakha will have 40,264. Samdrupjongkhar and Samtse are projected to have 30,320 and 59,388 people respectively. Population in Sarpang will reach 65,774.

Dzongkhags such as Trashigang and Trashiyangtse is projected to experience fall in population.

The population in Trashigang will fall to almost half by 2047 from projected 45,023 in 2018. As per the projection, the population in Trashiyangtse will also fall to 11,278 in 2047 from 17,191 in 2018.

Bhutan has 735,553 people, which are projected go up to 883,866 in 2047. Projections show that the population will continue to increase but at a slower pace than in the recent past.

The report states that population projections are useful in assessing future requirements for housing, food, infrastructure and various other amenities as well as the provision of various services such as health and education services.

“With the strong decentralisation policy in place, detailed information on population characteristics the local level about is necessary,” it states.

The reports also point out that population projection helps the policy makers and planners in formulating effective developmental strategies for improving the living conditions and overall quality of life of the people.

Nirmala Pokhrel