Most Bhutanese live off subsistence farming scattered in sparsely populated villages across the slopes of the rugged Himalayas. The sense of individuality and independence emerges as a strong characteristic of the people.
Numerous ethnic groups inhabit the country - such as the semi-nomad Brokpa in the far east, the Layap and Lunap highlanders in the extreme north, the Nepali in the south, the Olep in pockets of central Bhutan and the Doya in the south-west. In all, some 16 languages are spoken. The vast majority are Buddhists.