Kathmandu metropolitan, the capital city of Nepal is a socio-geographic microcosm of the nation as a whole and demonstrates caste/ethnic mosaic. Known historically as a Newar settlement, Kathmandu accommodates at least 67 caste/ethnic groups. It has witnessed nearly six-fold increase in population within the last 40 years. Utilizing the population census 2001, this paper examines the population dynamics from a socio-geographic perspective by focusing on concentration of caste/ethnic groups, migration in the city and apparent ethnic diversification. The findings suggest that spatial distribution of caste/ethnic population demonstrates more of diversification than concentration. The index of ethnic diversification clearly demonstrates a geographic pattern associated with distance. The level of diversification increases from the city core to the periphery along with increase in distance from the core. Diversification is closely related to migration both internal and international but primarily internal. These findings are expected to contribute to the ongoing national debate of formation of federal states reflecting one or other group’s primacy. This primacy issue is grounded in argument of ethnic concentration while in reality the social landscape has been much more diversified than many of them have realized.
Key words: Kathmandu metropolitan, capital city, caste/ethnic groups, concentration, ethnic diversification, geographic pattern, migration.
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