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Population growth and Pakistan

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The world's population more than doubled between 1950 and 1992, rising from 2.5 billion to 5.5 billion

By Dr. S.M. Alam
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture,
 Tandojam, Pakistan.
Oct 09 - 15, 2000

The size and growth of world populations are enormously larger than at any previous epoch of human history. The recent rate of growth 1.7 to 2.0 per cent per year, is not large by many standards. But continued over any long historical period, it leads to population growth of astronomical proportions. Even with slowing rates of growth, the population division of United Nations projects has shown a rise of world population from 4.4 billion in 1980 to 6.1 billion in the year 2000 and nearly 8.2 billion in the year 2025. This is within the lifetime of the majority of persons alive today.

The world's population more than doubled between 1950 and 1992, rising from 2.5 billion to 5.5 billion. In 1950, nearly a third of human kind lived in the industrial world, now it is below one quarter. By 2020, it will be less than one fifth. Within the developing world, national populations are growing at very different rates. As countries grow richer, and infant mortality declines, so women have smaller families. In some developing countries, such as South Africa and Taiwan women typically have families as small as those in industrial countries two children or fewer. In contrast, some African countries where women typically bear seven or eight children.

Population growth derives from an excess of births over deaths, aside from migration. National differences in rates of population growth today are largely determined by levels and trends in the birth rate. Up to world war second, there was a clear dichotomy between those countries that had experienced major fertility declines and those that had not. The former included Europe and Europe overseas (North America, Australia, and temperate South America). The remainder continued to have high fertility, the levels varying with cultural differences. This dichotomy has broken down as non- European populations have modernized conspicuously led by Japan. To-day, East-Asian and Latin-American countries are experiencing rapid fertility declines constant with their 'modernization' and/or their break with traditional institutions, as in the People's Republic of China. Less rapid fertility reductions are generally observable in India and other countries in South and South-East Asia. Muslim nations and tropical African countries have not yet experienced major fertility reductions, though these have begun in several Muslim countries such as Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Indonesia. Major progress in reducing mortality has been mode in almost every country in the world. Commonly some countries in less developed world gained 5-10 years in life expectancy between 1960 and 1980. But in Muslim south-west Asia and in the most impoverished countries of South Asia such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where death rates are high. The United Nations have projected the population of some countries of world starting from 1980-2025, which is presented below:

United Nations 'modern' population projections (in millions).

Countries

1980

2000

2025

China

995

1251

1469

India

684

961

1234

USSR

265

310

355

US

227

264

306

Indonesia

148

l99

247

Brazil

122

187

291

Japan

117

129

131

Bangladesh

88

148

222

Pakistan

87

140

206

Nigeria

77

150

285

Mexico

70

116

174

Germany

61

59

54

Holland

57

59

57

U.K

56

55

54

France

54

56

53

Vietnam

54

79

106

Philippines

49

77

108

Thailand

47

69

90

Turkey

45

70

100

Egypt

42

64

95

Iran

38

65

99

Source: UN, World Population Projects Assessed in 1980.

At present, Pakistan population is approximately 140 millions with growth rate of 2.61 per cent. Two years back, the government announced provisional results of the country's fifth population census, according to which Pakistan's population rose to 130.58 million showing an overall per centage increase of 54.98 over the last census held in 1981. The census which was held after a gap of 17 years shown an average annual growth rate of 2.61 per cent against 3.06 during 1972 to 1981. The results of the 1998 census did not show a great deal of variation in the proportion of population in each province as compared to 1981 statistics. Punjab remains the largest province of Pakistan with 72.5 million people, followed by Sindh 29.9 million, NWFP 17.5 million and Balochistan 6.5 million. The population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is 3.1 million. The largest city of Pakistan is Karachi with population of 9.2 million, followed by Lahore with 5.06 million and Faisalabad with 1.97 million. These three big cities account for 38.4 per cent of total urban population of Pakistan. The fourth, fifth, sixth and the seventh largest cities are Rawalpindi (1.40 million), Multan (1.18 million), Hyderabad (1.15 million) and Gujranwala (1.12 million).

The population of the federal capital Islamabad is 0.340 million. There are now 23 major urban centres having population of 0.2 million and above. The North West Frontier Province, Sindh and Islamabad Capital Territory have slightly gained from 13.1 to 13.4 per cent, 22.6 to 23 per cent and 0.4 to 0.6 per cent, respectively while it has declined marginally for Punjab from 56.1 to 55.6 per cent and for FATA from 2.6 to 2.4 per cent. Balouchistan has also shown nominal decline from 5.1 to 5 per cent.

The overall urban population has increased from 28.3 per cent in 1981 to 32.5 per cent in 1998 which means that every third person now lives in a city or town. Islamabad has the highest urban population since about two thirds of its population lives in the city while FATA has the lowest urban proportion of 2.7 per cent. Amongst the provinces, Sindh is the most urbanized province where 48.9 per cent population is living in urban areas. Three major cities, Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur account for 73.1 per cent 35.7 per cent of the total population of the province as a whole. The second most urbanised is Punjab where 31.3 per cent population lives in cities. The least urbanised province is NWFP where only 16.9 per cent population lives in cities.

Population of Sindh:

The population of Sindh has become 29,991,161 people as it was 18,028,666 people in the 1981 census of the government. It is clearly shown that after a period of 18 years the population of Sindh has increased to 10.962,495 persons. On the districts level the population of Hyderabad was 2,840,653, Dadu 1631,427, Badin 1,108,394, Thatta 1,099,528, Sanghar 1,420,022, Mirpurkhas 899,947, Umarkot 656,124, Tharparkar 906,720, Jacobabad 1,400,575, Shikarpur 865,893, Larkana 1,903,020, Sukkur 877,858, Ghotki 952,461, Khairpur 1,514,768, Noshehro Feroz 1,064,651, Nawabshah 1,064,651, in Karachi- Malir 1,041.029, East 2,716,789, West 2,080,303, South 1,724,915 and Central 2,239,098. There are 66,923 villages and 354 police stations. Sindh has three muncipal corporations, 116 town committees and 627 union councils. There are 100,373 primary schools, 31,183 high schools and 250 colleges in Sindh. In the hospitals there are 30,326 beds, whereas the number of dispensaries in the province is 1,873. The number of post offices in the province is 1,805. According to the report, 14,664,000 people live in the cities, whereas the total population in the villages is 15,327,000. The literacy rate in Sindh is 46 per cent. Out of the total 1,408,100 hectare of land of Sindh, 5,647,000 hectare land is used for agricultural purposes.

TABLE 1

Quality of Life in South Asia A Comparison (1995)

Population

Pakistan

India

Sri Lanka

Bangladesh

Population density

       

(People per sq. km.)

169

313

280

920

GNP per capita (US-$)

460

430

700

240

Infant mortality rate (1995)

90

68

16

79

Total fertility rate (1970)

7.0

5.8

4.3

7.0

Total fertility rate (1995)

5.2

3.2

2.3

3.5

Adult illiteracy rate (male)

50

35

7

51

Adult illiteracy rate (female)

76

62

13

74

Access to sanitation

30

29

66

30

Source: World Development Report - 1997.

The quantity of life in Pakistani cities and towns is under severe strain as a result of weak urban management burgeoning population at an annual rate of about 3 per cent and increasing pressure on urban service delivery. The sector suffers from weak institutions with unclear roles and overlapping responsibilities, dysfunction land markets, supply driven investment without adequate coverage, sharply deteriorating urban environment and expanding slums.