Bhutanese living conditions have improved
significantly in just a couple of decades. Poverty has
decreased significantly and life expectancy has
increased by 20 years. In the small farming villages
that most Bhutanese live in, the earth suffices for a
pretty good life with enough food on the table.
Bhutan was for a long time a very poor country with
high infant mortality and short life expectancy. The
situation has improved significantly in a short time.
The proportion of poor people, according to the national
classification, was around a tenth in the 2010s, a
substantial reduction from more than a third at the turn
of the millennium.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Bhutan, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Almost all residents now have access to clean water
and at least every other has access to drains in the
home. In principle, all Bhutanese have access to health
care, although some live far away in order to easily
utilize it. A national pension plan introduced in 2000
primarily includes civil servants and the military.
In 2004, Bhutan became the first country in the world
to ban the sale of tobacco products. However, the law
has been criticized, and after a protest storm on social
media, the king issued amnesty for 16 people
incarcerated for tobacco possession. The law was also
Despite a rapid move into urban areas, most Bhutanese
still live in small villages in the countryside. Even
the agglomerations are small in size.
Agriculture and livestock care for housing needs
characterize the lives of many residents. Still, the
Bhutanese are usually quite prosperous; the earth is
sufficient to meet the basic needs.
Until recently, crime was very low. However, the
number of burglaries, thefts and robberies has increased
in recent years with the increasing openness to the
The Buddhist tradition is reminiscent of everywhere
except in southern Bhutan where Hinduism predominates.
In the villages and along roads and paths there are
plenty of temples, monasteries, stupors, prayer wheels
and prayer flags. Also, the residential buildings are
often decorated with religious motifs in different
colors and patterns. Pictures of animals or flowers also
The houses usually have a ground floor where animals
are kept, a floor plan that constitutes housing and one
for storage. In Bhutanese homes there is often a prayer
room with a small altar and pillows to sit on. A chair
is reserved for high-ranking monks, who on occasion are
expected to visit the house.
The situation of women
The women have a pretty strong position. They live
side by side and interact freely with men, unlike in
other countries in the region where women and men are
largely separated. In principle, women and men have
equal access to education, health care and other care.
By law, women and men have the same inheritance right.
In large parts of Bhutan, it is traditionally daughters
rather than sons who inherit farm and land. The woman
often acts as head of the family and newly married
couples often move home to the woman's family. In the
home, men participate at least in part in household
chores. Boys, and not just girls, learn how to cook and
However, the woman's strong position in the private
sphere is not reflected in business or politics, where
she is under-represented. In southern Bhutan there is
also a more patriarchal tradition.
Polygamy is permitted and occurs to some extent. Both
men and women can have multiple spouses. In the
countryside, several brothers or sisters sometimes marry
a single counterpart, as a way to prevent property from
being split into too small units. But the mill is also
found among the elite: Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who
abdicated from the King's throne in 2006, has four wives
who are sisters to each other.
The situation of LGBT people
Being gay, bisexual or transgender was punishable
until June 2019, when the parliament, with a large
majority, scrapped the sections of the Criminal Code
which stated that "unnatural sex was illegal". Bhutan
has never punished anyone under the now scrapped the law
and tolerance towards LGBT -Persons is relatively large
in the community, even if discrimination occurs.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
25 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
97.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
69.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
3.5 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 91 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
9 percent (2018)