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Population growth and the outcome for economic progress

Many economic experts analyzed that the country’s population must not exceed beyond certain level. They foresee that the affiliation between population growth and growth of economic progress has been noted broadly and on the other hand, they believe that economic growth in high-income countries is predicted to be relatively slow in upcoming years in part because population growth in these countries is estimated to slow significantly. It is also revealed that population growth has been and would continue to be difficult as more people inevitably use more of the finite resources obtainable on earth, thereby reducing long-term potential growth.

Population growth affects many phenomena like the age structure of a country’s population, global migration, economic inequality, and the size of a country’s work force. These factors both affect and are affected by overall economic growth. It is also said that population census is a significant source to measure the composition of a population and its distribution.

The 6th National Population and Housing Census was held in Pakistan after a lapse of about 19 years. The census was undertaken in two phases first from 15th March to 15th April, 2017 and the second from 25th April to 25th May, 2017. In the economic survey of Pakistan it is mentioned that the provisional results of 6th National Population and Housing Census explain a rise of 57 percent in the total population of Pakistan. The total population is 207.77 million as against to 132.35 million back during 1998 while the countrywide average household size is 6.45 persons.

Average yearly population growth rate (1998-2017) at national level is 2.4 percent whereas growth in urban areas is 2.70 percent which is higher than the population growth rate in rural areas which is 2.23 percent.


The statistics also explained that the overall distribution of population is in favor of male population which comes to 106.45 million (51 percent) whereas female population is 101.32 million (49 percent) and 10,418 person have been identified as transgender. On a national scale, average population growth rate has fallen from 2.6 percent in 1998 to 2.4 percent in 2017. However, Islamabad Capital Territory has recorded highest population growth rate of 4.91 percent. Its population has grown from 0.81 million in 1998 to 2.0 million during 2017.

Punjab and Sindh have also seen a fall in the population growth rate, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan have posted a rise in the population growth rate. Further, in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the population growth rate has grown from 2.1 percent in 1998 to 2.41 percent during 2017. The province wise population proportion explains that Punjab has the largest population of 110.0 million, while Sindh is the second with a population of 47.8 million. KPK and Balochistan, although lag behind in numbers, but population growth rate in these provinces explicated a rise. The population of FATA increased from 3.18 million to 5.0 million in 2017.


According to population and Housing Census 2017, the population of 10 major cities has grown by 74.8 percent as against to 1998 census. The urban population explains a rising trend with 36.38 percent of the population living in urban areas. The comparative position of provinces and areas explain same trend in urban population. Sindh province is the most urbanized among all the provinces in the country as per the consequences with 52.02 percent of its population areas. Punjab has the highest share of population of 52.9 percent in population pie but its share has fallen as against to 1998. The share of urban population in Punjab has risen from 31.27 percent in 1998 percent during 2017.

The economic survey of Pakistan also mentioned that the urbanization in KPK rose from 16.87 percent in 1998 percent during 2017. The share of urban population in Balochistan rose from 23.89 percent during 1998 to 27.55 percent in 2017 and the urban share in FATA grew from 2.69 percent to 2.84 percent in the same period.

Major CitiesCensus 1998Census 2017
Karachi City9.3314.91
Lahore City5.1411.12
Faisalabad M.CORP23.2
Rawalpindi City1.42.09
Gujranwala M.CORP1.132.02
Peshawar City0.981.97
Multan City M.CORP1.191.87
Hyderabad City1.161.73
Islamabad M.CORP0.521.01
Quetta City0.561
Source: Ministry of Finance

Contrary to provinces, the Islamabad Capital Territory explains a fall in urbanization with the population in urban areas dropped to 50.58 percent in 2017 from 65.72 percent in 1998. The total population of the 10 major cities in Pakistan has grown from 23.41 million in 1998 to 40.92 million during 2017. Almost 35 percent of Sindh’s total population lives in Karachi and Hyderabad alone.

Karachi occupies the top position in the list of most populous cities of the country with population of 14.91 million which explains a rise of 59.8 percent in 19 years. Likewise, the population of Hyderabad city rose from 1.16 million to 1.73 million explaining 49.1 percent growth. The population of Lahore city has risen by 116.3 percent from 5.14 million to 11.12 million in 2017, while Faisalabad’s population has risen from 2.0 million to 3.2 million in 2017 explaining a growth of 60.0 percent. Similarly, the population of Rawalpindi has also risen by 49.3 percent from 1.40 million to 2.09 million and Gujranwala by 78.8 percent from 1.13 million to 2.02 million during 2017.

The population of Peshawar city has grown by 101 percent from 0.98 million to 1.97 million in the corresponding period. The population of Quetta city has grown by 78.6 percent to 1.0 million in 2017 from 0.56 million in 1998.

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