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Depopulating the Himalayan Highlands: Education and Outmigration from Ethnically Tibetan Communities of Nepal

Author : Geoff Childs, Sienna Craig, Cynthia M. Beall, Buddha Basnyat | 2016
Published By: BioOne

Communities that have thrived for centuries in Nepal’s rugged mountain environment appear to be on the brink of precipitous population declines. Population growth in Nepal as a whole remains significant (MOHP 2011). However, as Karan (1987) points out, aggregate population data in the Himalayan region mask considerable local variation. Here we present evidence that rapid population decline is underway in highland valleys of Nepal populated by ethnic Tibetans. The primary driving force is the outmigration of children to monasteries and boarding schools. Although population decline in mountainous regions of the world is not a new phenomenon as it has been well documented in Europe (Viazzo 1989; Batzing et al 1996), Japan (Okahashi 1996), and elsewhere, this is perhaps the first documented case where a major cause is parental decisions to send children away from their natal villages. The purposes of this paper are to document recent demographic trends, project their future effects on the population size and composition, and discuss potential social and economic consequences that may jeopardize the viability of Himalayan communities.

URL : 20170831014638.pdf

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