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The number of people belonging to minority religions in the context of Bangladesh has decreased, according to the latest census conducted in 2022.
Atul Das | HENB | Dhaka | July 27, 2022:: Numbers of religious minorities decrease further in Islamic Bangladesh. The census shows that the ratio of Hindu population and Buddhist population stands at 7.95% and 0.61% of the whole population.
Whereas, Hindus comprised 8.54% of the population and Buddhists 0.61% according to the 2011 census.
So, the Hindu population has decreased by 0.59% in the last 11 years.
The preliminary report of the “Population and Housing Census 2022” done by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) was released on Wednesday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital.
Dildar Hossain, project director of BBS, highlighted various aspects of the report.
According to the census majority of the population or 91.04% Bangladesh’s population are Muslim. In 2011, the percentage of Muslims was 90.39%. So, the ratio of Muslims has increased 0.65%.
The ratio of Christian people also decreased from 0.31% in 2011 to 0.30% in 2022.
Also, other minority religions which comprised 0.41% of the population in 2011 now comprise 0.12%.
The first census in the independent country was conducted in 1974. At that time, the Hindu population was 13.5% of the total population.
The BBS 2011 Population and Housing Census report cites two reasons for the decline in the Hindu population in the country.
Firstly, there is out-migration of Hindus, i.e. Hindus are leaving the country. Secondly, the relatively low total fertility rate among the Hindu population. That is, Hindu couples give birth to relatively fewer children.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics report, Khulna division has the highest decline in Hindu population (1.33%).
In 2011, 12.85% of the population of the division were Hindus. This rate has come down to 11.52% this year.
Among the eight divisions, Khulna has the third highest Hindu population.
According to the 2022 census Sylhet division has the highest Hindu population of 13.5%, but the ratio was 14.05% in 2011.
In Rangpur division, the Hindu population has decreased from 13.21% in 2011 to 12.98% in 2022.
Mymensingh division has the lowest percentage of people belonging to the Hindu community (3.92%).
Preliminary reports of the 2022 census show that the average annual population growth rate is 1.22%.
The average population growth rate in the 2011 census was 1.37%.
The population density has increased to 1,119 people per square kilometre which was 976 in the last census of 2011.
The Population and Housing Census started simultaneously on 15 June across the country. The census was supposed to end on 21 June, but due to floods in the north-eastern districts, the census continued till 28 June in those districts.
After the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, the first census was conducted in 1974. In that year, the rate of Hindu in Bangladesh was 13.50 percent. During the celebration of 50 years of independence, it was reduced by almost half. Several reasons are mentioned for this. This includes migration and exodus due to religious persecution on minority people by the increasing Islamic fanatics in the country and it is also indicative of the low fertility rate of Hindu women.
According to the 2021 census, the population of Bangladesh has increased to 16 crores. The population has increased at the rate of 1.22 percent annually in the country. But the Hindus and other minorities are shrinking gradually. BJP in India has already raised questions about why the percentage of Hindus in the population of Bangladesh is decreasing. Opposition leader of WB Legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari questioned the matter on a social media platform.
__Inputs from The Business Standard Bangladesh.