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The vast majority of Bangladesh's inhabitants are Bengalis, who are largely descended from Indo-Aryans who began to migrate into the country from the west thousands of years ago and who mixed within Bengal with indigenous groups of various racial stocks. Ethnic minorities include the Chakma and Mogh, Mongoloid peoples who live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts; the Santal, mainly descended from migrants from present-day India; and the Biharis, non-Bengali Muslims who migrated from India after the partition.

Population Characteristics

The population of Bangladesh (1991) was 109,876,977, making Bangladesh the world's eighth most populous country. The overall density, 763 persons per sq km (1976 persons per sq mi) in 1991, is much higher than that of any other country in the world except for microstates such as Singapore. Fewer than 20 percent of the Bangladeshi people are classified as urban. The distribution of the population is relatively even, except in the sparsely populated Chittagong Hill Tracts and the almost totally uninhabited Sundarbans. Most of the people are relatively young, some 45 percent being under the age of 15 and only about 3 percent being 65 or older. Life expectancy at birth is about 51 years.

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