Their population is estimated at about 650 persons living in small settlements in the Karnali and Makahali (Kali) watershed regions of western Nepal. Most have been forcibly settled by the government of Nepal but there are about 150 nomadic Raute.
The Raute language is classified as Tibeto-Burman. It is called “Raute” in most studies and sometimes “Khamci,” meaning “our talk” in a few other studies. It is closely related to the language spoken by two related ethnic groups, the Ban Raji (“Little Rulers of the Forest”) and Raji (“Little Rulers”) of the same region (Fortier and Rastogi 2004). The closest well-documented language to Raute known at the present time isChepang, spoken by an ethnic group of west-central Nepal who also have been hunter-gatherers until the current generation.