South Asia: Constituent Countries And Their Populations And Economies

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe on August 15 2018 in Society

A map showing the countries of South Asia.
A map showing the countries of South Asia.

South Asia comprises of countries that make up the southern region of the continent of Asia. Southern Asia is bordered to the south by the Indian Ocean, to the west by West Asia, and the South by Southern Asia. The countries that make up South Asia include Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Maldives. South Asia’s history can be traced back to four stages. The first stage is the ancient era that dates back to 3300 BCE through 1300 BCE, when the Indus Valley Civilization began to spread in the northwestern parts of South Asia. The second stage is the classical era when Indo-Iranian speaking pastoralists (nomadic herders) migrated into the area from central Asia. The third stage was the medieval period when Islam came to South Asia through Muhammad’s conquest of Sindh and Multan. The final stage is the current modern era which begun in the 18th Century when the British East India Company had control over most of the Asia to the 20th Century when most of the countries gained independence. South Asia has a population of around 1.8 billion people.

South Asia: A Nation By Nation Analysis


In South Asia, India is the largest and the most populous country with a population of 1.276 billion people. Urban areas such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru are the most populous cities of India. India’s population growth rate is 1.2% annually with a life expectancy of 66 years. India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is US $7,996.6 billion, and has a projected GDP growth rate of 2% per year.


Pakistan is the second most populous country in South Asia and ranks the sixth in the world with the highest population. Pakistani population stands at 190.4 million people with a life expectancy of 66.4 years and a population growth rate of 1.6% annually. Pakistan has a GDP of $928.0 billion and a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $4,840 in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).


Bangladesh population accounts for 2.2% of the world’s population. Bangladesh has a population of 159.86 million people and a population density of 1238 persons per square kilometers, the highest among the world's larger countries. Life expectancy in Bangladesh is 70 years while the population growth rate is 1.2% annually. Bangladesh has a GDP of $572.6 billion, the third highest in South Asia with a GNI of $3,190 PPP.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is among the countries with the highest population in south Asia, with of population of 21.7 million people and an annual growth rate of 1.1%. The country is an Island in the Indian Ocean with population density of 325 people per square kilometer. The Sri Lankan life expectancy stands at 74.07 years with a fertility rate of 2.35 births per woman. Sri Lanka GDP grew to $233.7 billion in 2015.

Trade Dynamics and Relations Across National Borders

South Asian countries have developed a strong relationship among themselves. The relationship focuses on the main aspects of the economy such as trade and security. India continues to dominate the region in all aspects because of its large economy. Policies on trade among these South Asia countries aim at building strong bilateral ties. India has no fixed trade policy with Bangladesh, therefore, can import and export anything to or from India. South Asia security has been threatened by the rise of extremists even though the region has enhanced Security Cooperation among them. Poor governance in some countries has not affected much of the cooperation between these South Asia countries.

The Population And Economy Of The South Asian Countries

RankCountryPopulation(Million)GDP (PPP)
1 India1276.2$7996.6 bn
2 Pakistan190.40$928.0bn
3 Bangladesh159.86$572.6 bn
4 Sri Lanka21.70$233.7 bn
5 Nepal28.40$70.7 bn
6 Afghanistan32.01$63.5 bn
7 Bhutan0.78$6.3 bn
8 Maldives0.38$5.2 bn

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