Tibet at a Glance

Mountains of tibetan highland. ®CTA Photo Archive

The term TIBET refers to the whole of Tibet, known as Cholka-Sum (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo). It includes the present-day Chinese administrative areas of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province, two Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and one Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province, one Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and one Tibetan Autonomous County in Gansu Province and one Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province.

Land Size

2.5 million square kilometres, which includes U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo provinces. “Tibet Autonomous Region”, consisting of U-Tsang and a small portion of Kham, consists of 1.2 million square kilometres. The bulk of Tibet lies outside the “TAR”.

Political Status

Occupied country and without United Nations’ representation.

Average Altitude

4,000 meters or 13,000 feet above sea level.

Tibetan Mountains ®CTA Photo Archive


Under Chinese rule, Tibet is divided into the following administrative units: a) Tibet Autonomous Region, b) Qinghai Province, c) Tianzu Tibetan Autonomous County and Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, d) Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Mili Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province, e) Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province.


The total Tibetan population in Tibet is 6 million. Of them, 2.09 million live in the “TAR” and the rest in the Tibetan areas outside the “TAR”.  

Old Tibetan Nun ®CTA Photo Archive

Major Rivers

Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra in India), Machu (Yellow River in China), Drichu (Yangtse in China), Senge Khabab (Indus in India), Phungchu (Arun in India), Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween in Burma) and Zachu (Mekong in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos).

Native Wildlife

Tibetan antelope, wild yak, wild donkey, Tibetan argali, blue sheep, black-necked crane, Tibetan gazelle, giant panda, red panda, golden monkey.


Agriculture and animal husbandry.

Literacy Rate

Approximately 25%.

Tibetan Nomads 1943 ®CTA Photo Archive

Population in exile

Approximately 128,014 (Approximate worldwide distribution: India 94,203; Nepal 13,514; Bhutan 1,298 and rest of the world 18,999)

Head of the Central Tibetan Administration

Sikyong, after the devolution of political power by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to the elected leader in 2011.

Central Tibetan Administration Departments

Religion and Culture, Home, Security, Education, Finance, Information and International Relations, Health

Autonomous commissions

Election Commission, Public Service Commission and Office of the Auditor General

Election Schedule

Tibetan Parliament in Exile and Sikyong elections are held every five years

Seat of the Central Tibetan Administration

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Offices of Tibet abroad

New Delhi, India; Washington DC, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; London, UK; Brussels, Belgium; Canberra, Australia; Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Pretoria, South Africa; Taipei, Taiwan and Sao Paolo, Brazil


Estimated at 82.4% as per the 2009 Demographic Survey of Tibetans in Exile Source: Planning Commision, CTA

Income of the administration

Annual voluntary contribution by exile Tibetans and foreign donations


Agriculture, agro-industrial enterprises, carpet weaving, service sector and seasonal selling of woollen garments


Total school enrolment is 85 to 90 percent of school-going age students

Legal Status