Nepal Fast Facts

CNN —  

Here’s a look at Nepal, a mountainous country on the southern side of the Himalayas of Southern Asia. It shares Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, with China.

About Nepal (Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal)

(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 147,181 square kilometers (slightly larger than New York state)

Population: 30,424,878 (July 2021 est.)

Median age: 25.3 years

Capital: Kathmandu

Ethnic groups: Chhettri 16.6%, Brahman-Hill 12.2%, Magar 7.1%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.8%, Newar 5%, Kami 4.8%, Muslim 4.4%, Yadav 4%, Rai 2.3%, Gurung 2%, Damai/Dholii 1.8%, Thakuri 1.6%, Limbu 1.5%, Sarki 1.4%, Teli 1.4%, Chamar/Harijan/Ram 1.3%, Koiri/Kushwaha 1.2%, other 19% (2011 estimate)

Religion: Hindu 81.3%, Buddhist 9%, Muslim 4.4%, Kirant 3.1%, Christian 1.4%, other 0.5%, unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3% (2017 est.)

Other Facts

Nepal is one of the world’s least developed and poorest nations. About one-fourth of its population lives below the poverty line.

Nepal is a former monarchy that is now a federal democratic republic with multiple political parties.

About three-fourths of its terrain is mountainous.

Eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains are along Nepal’s border. Mt. Everest’s summit is 8,848 meters above sea level, the highest spot on Earth. Kanchenjunga, which straddles Nepal and India, is the third-highest mountain in the world.

Nepal’s flag is the only one in the world that is neither square nor rectangular. The shape is formed from two connected pennants.

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, was born in Lumbini, now part of Nepal, around the sixth century BC.

Nearly eight out of 10 girls in a region of mid-Western Nepal sleep in dangerous outdoor “menstruation huts” during their period, despite the practice being outlawed in 2018, a study found. The illegal custom, known as “Chhaupadi,” stems from a centuries-old Hindu taboo that considers women and girls as unclean during menstruation.


Pre-18th century - Nepal is divided into small kingdoms.

1768 - Gorkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah becomes ruler of the entire valley, uniting the kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaon. The king declares Kathmandu to be the capital in 1769.

1814-1816 - Nepal and the British East India Company war over lands in the Terai, or the lowlands. Nepal signs the Treaty of Sagauli in 1816, ceding about one-third of its territory.