Speakers of Hindko live primarily in five districts. Four of these are in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province: Mansehra, Abbottabad, Peshawar and Kohat, while the fifth district, Attock, is in the Punjab. According to 1981 census figures 305,505 households of the nation, 2.4% of the total, speak Hindko as their mother tongue. Its predominance in rural areas is reflected in the fact that 2.8 percent of rural households report Hindko as their household language as compared with only 1.5 percent of urban households.

A large number of Hindko speakers in Hazara Division are Pashtoons, e.g. Tahir Kheli. Many other mother-tongue speakers of Hindko are Swati Pathans, who are said to have formerly spoken Pashto while living in the lower Swat valley.   Many speakers of Hindko belong to groups other than the Pashtoons, e.g., Saiyids, said to have come to the area in the early centuries of Islamic history, many of whom live in the Peshawar area. Large numbers of Hindko speakers are Avans, while others belong to groups of Moughals,Bulghadris, Turks and Qureshis. In Jammun significant numbers of Gujars have adopted Hindko as their first language. Levels of education among men differ depending on the region, but the percentage of educated women is low across all regions, with the majority of those who have some schooling having only 1-5 years of education.