. Ladakh has a population of about 260,000 which is a blend of many different ethnic groups, predominantly Tibetans, Monpas and Dards. Like other Ladakhis, the Baltis of Kargil, Nubra, Suru Valley and Baltistan show strong Tibetan links in their appearance and language, and were Buddhists until the last few hundred years.
Most Ladakhis in Leh District and Zangskar are Tibetan Buddhist, while most of the rest of Kargil District is Shia Muslims. There are sizeable minorities of Buddhists in Kargil District and of Muslims in Leh District. There are some Sunni Muslims of Kashmiri descent in Leh and Kargil towns and also Padum in Zangskar. The Balti villages in Leh District have several thousand Nurbakhshia Muslims, followers Muslim Sufi Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani. There are a less than 40 families of Ladakhi Christians, who converted in the 19th century. These families belong to several very small Christian churches and a boarding school as a result of mission work begun in the 19th Century by missionaries from the Moravian Church in Herrnhut, Saxony, now Germany.
Among non-Ladakhi residents, there are followers of Hinduism and Sikhism, and a small number of followers of the Bon religion.
The Changpa nomads who live in the Rupshu plateau are more closely related to Tibetans. Since the early 1960s nomad numbers have increased as Changthang nomads from across the border flee Chinese-ruled Tibet. However, since 2000 some nomads, notably most of the community of Kharnak, have abandoned the nomadic life and settled in Leh town. There are about 3,500 Tibetan refugees from all parts of Tibet in Leh District.
People of Dard descent predominate in Dras and Dha-Hanu areas. The residents of the Dha-Hanu area, known as Brokpa, are followers of Tibetan Buddhism and have preserved much of their original Dardic traditions and customs. The Dards of Dras, however, have converted to Islam and have been strongly influenced by their Kashmiri neighbours. The Mons are believed to be descendants of earlier Indian settlers in Ladakh, and traditionally worked as musicians, blacksmiths and carpenters. The region’s population is split roughly in half between the districts of Leh and Kargil. Leh is 77% Buddhist and Kargil is 80% Muslim.
Educated Ladakhis usually know Hindi, Urdu and often English. Within Ladakh, there is a range of dialects, so that the language of the Chang-pa people may differ markedly from that of the Purig-pa in Kargil, or the Zangskaris, but they are all mutually comprehensible. Due to its position on important trade routes, the language of Leh is enriched with foreign words. Traditionally, Ladakhi had no written form distinct from classical Tibetan, but recently a number of Ladakhi writers have started using the Tibetan script to write the colloquial tongue. Administrative work and education are carried out in English; although Urdu was used to a great extent in the past, now only land records and some police records are kept in Urdu.
The total birth rate (TBR) in 2001 was 22.44, while it was 21.44 for Muslims and 24.46 for Buddhists. Brokpas had the highest TBR at 27.17 and Arghuns had the lowest at 14.25. 2.66.Baltis