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Hindu Population Growth in Bangladesh: A Demographic Puzzle

In: Journal of Religion and Demography
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The Hindu population in Bangladesh declined from 22% to 9% from 1951–2011. This paper analyses longitudinal data from the Matlab Health and Demographic Surveillance System for 1989–2016 to quantify the role of fertility, mortality, and international migration in explaining differential growth rates between Muslims and Hindus. The Hindu population has been growing at a slower rate than adherents of other religions, resulting in a decline in their relative share in the national population. Hindus have lower fertility, higher mortality and higher international out-migration rates than Muslims. According to this analysis, between 1989 and 2016, 54% of lower Hindu growth may be attributable to international out-migration; 41% is attributable to lower fertility, and 5% is attributable to higher mortality. The contribution of migration has declined over time and in last 20 years, lower fertility of Hindus was the primary contributing factor (over 70%) to their declining share of the country’s population.

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