Madhesis comprise only 19.3 percent of Nepal’s population

Sujit Mainali / November 23, 2015


The US-based newspaper Wall Street Journal published an editorial entitled “The Struggle for Nepal” in its online edition on 12 November which says Madhesis make up half of Nepal’s total population.

The editorial states:

“…some of the Madhesi ethnic group, who live in the lowlands near the Indian border and make up half of Nepal’s population…”

Click here to read the full text of the editorial:

According to the 2011 census, 50.26 percent of Nepal’s population lives in the Tarai-Madhes, the southern plains.

But this region is not entirely inhabited by the Madhesi ethnic group (which comprises Tarai Dalit and Tarai caste group).  Several indigenous communities of Tarai and people of hill origin also reside in this region.

According to the 2011 census, the Madhesi ethnic group living in this region comprises only 19.3 percent of the total population.

(Source: Pitambar Sharma, Some Aspects of Nepal’s Social Demography: Census 2011 Update, Social Science Baha/Himal Books, 2014, Kathmandu)

Therefore, the statement of the Wall Street Journal is incorrect. We thought it was relevant to fact-check the WSJ statement because several foreign media outlets and newspapers have also been erroneously reporting that Madhesis comprise half of Nepal’s population.

Click here to see the population composition of Tarai-Madhes in detail.





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