Bhutan's population is, in many ways, one large family. More than 90 percent of the people live on subsistence farming, scattered in sparsely populated villages across the rugged terrain of the Himalayas.
With rice as the staple diet in the lower regions, and wheat, buckwheat, and maize in the other valleys, the people farm narrow terraces cut into the steep hill slopes. Bhutanese communities settled in the valleys with limited communication in the past. It is for this reason that the sense of individuality and independence emerges as a strong characteristic of the people.
It is for the same reason that, despite the small population, it has developed a number of languages and dialects. The Bhutanese are, by nature, physically strong and fiercely independent with an open and ready sense of humor. Hospitality is an in-built social value in Bhutan.
Yet it is inevitable that Bhutan is changing. Three decades of development have had a dramatic impact on the kingdom which has moved, in a short span of time, from the medieval age into the 21st century. A comprehensive network of roads, school and hospitals reaching their services to the people, a modern telecommunication system, increasing contact with the international community, urbanization, and a growing private sector cannot but bring change.