The first survey designed to allow estimates of the demographic characteristics of Afghanistan’s sedentary population was conducted during the period 1972–1974. Our analysis of these data, based on recently developed techniques for handling incomplete or inaccurate data, suggests that this population lives under conditions that are extreme when judged by modern standards. Marriage is early, especially for females, and universal. Marital fertility conforms to a pattern of natural fertility and total fertility is high. The birth rate is among the highest in the world today, and the expectation of life at birth is among the very lowest. Mortality is lower in urban areas than in rural areas, whereas total fertility is approximately the same in both. Our estimates of fertility and mortality imply stable populations which match closely the observed age distributions for both the rural and urban areas.

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