This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
Situated on the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh shares large borders with India and a small southern boundary with Myanmar. The Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers meet in Bangladesh to form the world’s largest delta. Extremely fertile, yet vulnerable to floods, and cyclones, this low-lying country supports a population of around 150 million people. Nearly 40 per cent are children.
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Nearly three-quarters of Bangladeshis live in rural areas. Families in rural Bangladesh rely primarily on agriculture and fishing for their daily income. Over half of these families live below the poverty line. In the face of frequent natural disasters and the growing threat of climate change, rural livelihoods are now more tenuous than ever.
Increasing rural poverty is causing many families to migrate to the urban centres. Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing mega-cities of the world. The pressures of rapid urbanization result in high land prices and the growth of large slums on illegal settlements.
Millennium Development Goals
Despite these difficulties, Bangladesh has made significant progress towards meeting the child-related Millennium Development Goals :
- Primary school enrolment has been rising, with 86 per cent of primary-school-aged girls and 85 per cent of primary school-aged boys enrolled in 2009.
- Bangladesh has achieved close to gender parity in primary and secondary education.
- Between 1990 and 2009, the under-five mortality rate declined from 151 to 52 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The bottom line for development
Although human development indicators are steadily improving for Bangladesh, 50 per cent of the population continues to live below the poverty line, on less than $1.25 a day. 84 per cent of people survive on less than $2 a day . As food prices rise around the globe, the same income buys less and less each week. Families are working even harder to meet the basic needs of their children.
Under-eighteen population: 61.1 million
Under-five population: 16.5 million
Fertility rate: 2.3