Pakistan Faces Population Explosion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s population has increased by 16.3 percent to 241.5 million compared to population in 2017, showing the country is faced with population explosion.

According to the Economic Survey 2023-24, the population growth rate at national level is 2.55pc. Despite comprising some 50pc of population in Pakistan, women’s participation in country’s labour force is considerably lower than that of men. In contrast, the growth rate in urban areas is 3.65pc, which is higher than population growth rate in rural areas — 1.90 percent— due to rural-urban migration.

The population density increased from 260.88 persons per square km in 2017 to 303 in 2023. Additionally, the average household size has decreased from 6.39 in 2017 to 6.30 in 2023.

Pakistan’s urban population increased from 75.67 million to 93.75 million between 2017 and 2023, making it one of the most urbanised nations in South Asia. Almost 39pc of its population lives in urban areas. Urbanisation impacts a country’s economy and development, leading to changes in various areas such as labour market opportunities, family structures, education, health, environment management, security systems and governance.

The Population and Housing Census of 2023 revealed urban population is rising, with 38.82pc currently living in urban areas. This trend is observed in most provinces, except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where urban population decreased from 16.55pc in 2017 to 15.01pc in 2023. The urban population in Islamabad decreased from 50.37pc in 2017 to 46.90pc in 2023.

It touches issue of empowering women, saying under policy of reducing gender gap in financial inclusion through Banking on Equality (BoE), 20 million women-owned active accounts stood by 2023 and 20pc of banks workforce will be women by 2024. Ten percent of branchless banking agents will also be women by 2024; 75pc of bank access points will have trained women champions by 2024, and all bank staffers are to go through gender sensitivity training by 2024. The data shows from 2017 to 2023, the share of urban population in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan increased due to better education, health and earning opportunities in urban areas.

Sindh has the highest urban population—51.89pc in 2017 to 53.73pc in 2023. Punjab ranks second with an increase from 36.86pc to 40.70pc in the same period. Balochistan’s urban population rose from 27.62pc in 2017 to 30.96pc in 2023. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa differed from other provinces, as percentage of rural population increased due to merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

During 2021-22, the PSLM Survey was not conducted by PBS due to the scheduled Population and Housing Census 2022.

Therefore, the figures for the latest survey regarding general and net enrolment rates may be considered for the analysis. According to the Labor Force Survey 2020-21, the national literacy rate was 62.8 percent in 2020-21 as compared to 62.4 percent in 2018-19.

Literacy rates increased in all provinces:

Literacy rate gone up in all provinces, with Punjab (increased 66.1 percent to 66.3 percent), Sindh (61.6 percent to 61.8 percent), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (52.4 percent to 55.1 percent) and Balochistan (53.9 percent to 54.5 percent).

- Author: Khalid Mustafa, The News


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