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Population growth and Pakistan

 

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Population growth derives from an excess of births over deaths, aside from migration

By Dr. S. M. ALAM
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture,
 Tandojam., Pakistan.
Dec 25 - 31, 2000

The size and growth of world population are enormously larger than at any previous epoch of human history. The recent rate of growth from 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 a rise of world population from 4.4 billion in 1980 to 6.1 billion in the year 2000 and 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 humankind 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. 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 made 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.

At present, Pakistan population is 130.58 million with growth rate of 2.61 percent. 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 percentage 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent, 22.6 to 23 percent and 0.4 to 0.6 percent respectively while it has declined marginally for Punjab from 56.1 to 55.6 percent and for FATA from 2.6 to 2.4 percent. Balouchistan has also shown nominal decline from 5.1 to 5 percent.

The overall urban population has increased from 28.3 percent in 1981 to 32.5 percent 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 population of 2.7 percent. Amongst the provinces, Sindh is the most urbanized province, where 48.9 percent population is living in urban areas. Three major cities, Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur account for 73.1 percent 35.7 percent of the total population of the province as a whole. The second most urbanised is Punjab, where 31.3 percent population lives in cities. The least urbanised province is NWFP where only 16.9 percent population lives in cities.

Agriculture in Pakistan: It was observed that Pakistan's population is increasing day by day, thus there is need to enhance the crop productivity, because agriculture is the single largest sector in Pakistan, which provides one-fourth of gross domestic produced product of the country and absorbs about 44 percent of the labour force, has more than 90% share. Foreign exchange earnings through the exports of processed and semi-processed products and employs about 48 percent of labour force. A large proportion of population (about 68%) lives in the rural areas of the country and performing useful work on agricultural fields. In this way poverty alleviation would depend purely on the development and alleviation of agriculture sector. The average annual growth in agriculture sector in the last few years remained at about 4.0 percent. But the development in agriculture is not at a speedy level, and not keeping pace with the ever growing population. This condition has bent the country to import for certain food grains, tea, palm oil and some other items to fulfil the demand of the ever growing population of the country. Inspite of these drawbacks Pakistan is tackling the situation well having limited resources. Pakistan with good soil resources and favourable weather conditions has the potential to boost up the food production of the country.

The country has a geographical areas of 6.61 mha, and quality nearly 59 mha are reported unutilized and 22.04 mha as cultivated area. Thus, 37 % areas are cultivated and 9.10 mha as culturable waste. Efficient management of resources especially water, inputs as fertilizers and certified seeds create a favourable condition for crop productivity.

Credit facility plays an important role in the promotion of agricultural growth. In the year 1997-98, the Agricultural Development Bank sanctioned loans to a credit of Rs.222.1 billion for the welfare of the farmers of the province. The representative of the farmers were not active and mostly remained absent from the meeting. This cause great difficulties in the interest of the farmers. On the other hand, the farmers of Punjab were benefited, and the loans distributed through representative to them were very much, and they played a positive role in the welfare of the farmers committees of the province. Cooperative societies also played a significant role in the economic welfare of the farmers. The total number of cooperative societies in the country was 37,001 of this 32,456 (87%) were in Punjab, while only 388 (1 percent) in Sindh. Even in Balochistan, the number of cooperative societies were more than Sindh. The role of cooperative societies are declining day by day.

However, it is the duty of the planners of all the four provinces to boost up the agricultural productivity of the country, through the application of modern technologies.

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

199

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

 


 

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

Purchasing power parity

2230

1400

3250

1380

Poverty

11.6

52.5

4.0

n.a

Infant mortality rate (1970)

142

137

53

140

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.