Formed in 1829, Dhaka Division (formerly Dacca Division of East Pakistan province) is located in the central region of Bangladesh. It is made up of two city corporations, 13 districts, 123 upazilas, and 1,248 union parishads. It is the administrative division of Bangladesh that includes Dhaka, the capital and the largest city of the country. It is the most populated city in Bangladesh, with an estimated population of about 8.5 million. It is known worldwide as the City of Mosques. Many believe that the name ‘Dhaka’ comes from the dhak tree once bountiful here, while others believe that it comes from Dhakeshwari, or The Hidden Goddess, whose temple was built in the area.

Dhaka Division is surrounded by Mymensingh Division and the Indian state of Meghalaya to the north, Barisal Division to the south, and Chittagong Division to the east and south-east, Sylhet Division to the north-east, Rangpur Division to the north-west, Rajshahi Division to the west and Khulna Division to the south-west. Some of the major water bodies in the division include Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Buriganga, Balu, Madhumati, Ghagar etc. Dhaka Division contains the Munshiganj zilla where archaeological treasures have been discovered in abundance.


According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics estimates 2011, the total population of Dhaka Division is estimated to be 47,424,418, which is the highest among all divisions. Of the total population, 24,172,317 are males and 23,252,101 are females. The population is mainly rural in nature (67.1 percent). At 32.9 percent, Dhaka Division has the highest proportion of urban population. It has a population growth rate of above 1.0 and also has the highest population density at 1521 (2011).

Dhaka is home to many migrants, estimated at 38.7 percent in 2011. Since the Division consists of the capital city of Dhaka, it has become the migration destination of the country. The migration takes place primarily due to high concentration of economic and political institutions in the area.

Islam is the dominant religion in Dhaka Division, with more than 90 percent of the population identifying as Muslim (92.58 percent), followed by Hindus (6.97 percent), Buddhists (0.39 percent), Christians (0.02 percent), and others (0.04 percent).

The literacy rate of the total population (aged 7 years and above) is 54.19 percent. Among males, the literacy rate is 57 percent and among females, it is 51.27 percent.

Majority of the population speaks Bengali, with English as the principal second language. There is also a minority Urdu speaking population coming from India and Pakistan.


In the Dhaka Division, economic sectors such as manufacturing and construction industries; agriculture & forestry; trade, transport, storage and communication are the highest contributors to GDP of the Division. Dhaka Division also claims the top position for the average amount of remittances per recipient household (158.46 thousand taka). At 36 percent, it is one of the highest contributors to national GDP among all divisions of the country.

Dhaka Division has an average monthly household nominal income of Tk. 13226 and the consumption expenditure of Tk. 11643 (2010). Dhaka has an unemployment rate of 19 percent (as of 2013).

It has the highest share of the country’s poor population. This is largely because a large number of people have migrated from impoverished areas of the country to Dhaka in search of employment. 32.3 percent of the total poor population of the country resides in Dhaka. According to Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2010, the average poverty rate for Dhaka Division is 30.5 percent and the poverty headcount is 30.5 percent. Dhaka also has the largest share of stunted children at 31.3 percent.


Every division operates under a division head that is referred as the Divisional Commissioner. Appointed in August last year, M Bazlul Karim Chaudhary is the current Divisional Commissioner of Dhaka Division. His prime duty is to supervise, monitor and control the work of Deputy Commissioners. He is referred as the main controller of departmental administration. Some of his many responsibilities include transfer & posting, supervising administrative activities, operates and regulates the activities related to the collection of land revenue, serves as the ex-officio chairman of the election board etc.

Within the Division, there are also City Corporations and Municipalities. The Mayor of the Dhaka North City Corporation is Anisul Haque and Mohammad Sayeed Khokon is the mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation.


Basu, I., Devine, J., Wood, G.D. (2017) Politics and Governance in Bangladesh: Uncertain landscapes. London: Routledge

Aminuzzaman, S.M., Khair, R., Basu, I. (2003) Governance at Crossroads: Insights from Bangladesh. Bangladesh: BRAC Development Institute