Bangladesh is a world's most densely populated countries , with its people crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal .
Poverty is deep and widespread, almost half of the population live on less than one dollar a day . However , Bangladesh has reduced population growth and improved health and education .
The major employer is agriculture , but it is unable to meet the demand for jobs . Thus many Bangladeshis in common with citizens from other countries in the region seek work abroad , sometimes illegally . The country is trying to diversify its economy , with industrial development a priority . Overseas investors have pumped money into manufacturing and the energy sector .
Onshore and offshore gas reserves hold out some chance of future prosperity . There has been a debate about whether the reserves should be kept for domestic use or exported . Some international energy companies are involved in the gas sector .
Formerly East Pakistan , Bangladesh came into being only in 1971 , when the two parts of Pakistan split after a bitter war which drew in neighboring India .
Bangladesh spent 15 years under military rule and , although democracy was restored in 1990 , the political scene remains volatile .
Analysts say the antagonism between the Awaami League , which governed until July 2001 , and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party reflects personal animosity between their leaders rather than substantial ideological differences .
Political tensions have spilled over into violence , hundreds of people have been killed in recent years . Attacks have targeted opposition rallies and public gatherings . Senior opposition figures have also been targeted .
Concern has grown about religious extremism in the traditionally moderate and tolerant country, which found apparent form in a string of bomb attacks in August 2005 . The government , which long denied that it had a problem with militants , has outlawed two fringe Islamic organizations .
Bangladesh has been criticized for its human rights record , with particular concern about assaults on women and allegations that police use torture against those in custody .
The low_lying country is vulnerable to flooding and cyclones and it stands to be badly affected by predicted rises in sea levels .