POPULATION

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
Apr 2 - 8, 2012

POPULATION GROWTH RATE

YEAR (%)
1951 - 61 2.45
1961 - 72 3.66
1972 - 81 3.05
1981 - 98 2.69
2010 2.05

Pakistan is the sixth most populated country in the world with the highest population growth rate at 2.03 per cent among the SAARC countries, resulting in an addition of 3.6 million people every year. The population is projected to reach 210.13 million by the year 2020 and would double in next 34 years.

Pakistan is grouped with countries having moderate level of urbanization, but it has the highest share of population living in urban areas among the South Asian countries. It is also projected that about half of the country's population would be living in cities by 2030.

The current rate of population growth leaves insufficient margin to maintain consumption levels, increase savings, and attract investments necessary to sustain increase in outputs. At the same time, the socioeconomic gains already accomplished were largely diluted because of rapid increase in the population. This increase allows little progress in the field of social services such as food, security, health, education, housing, energy, transport, clean water, and proper sanitation.

If the population continues to grow faster than the economy, the country would never be able to meet the people's needs for economic and social services and that everyone would suffer especially the poor.

According to the 1998 Population Census, 43 per cent of the population consisted of children under 15, 53 per cent was between the ages of 15- 64 years, and about four per cent was 65 and above.

This information shows that a big proportion of the population had been of children implying that they were dependent on the economy of the country. About four per cent of the population happened to be of old persons, another group of dependents. About one-half of the population was that of women, who, with the exception of few, were usually considered as dependents.

In this way, the age structure of the population showed that majority (nearly two thirds) of them were dependents.

Presently, 60 per cent of the population is under 15-65 years of age and it will continue to increase resulting in low dependency ratio and increasing working age population\labor force. This gradual shift to a youthful age structure is due to the decline in birth and death rates that occur at the beginning of the demographic transition.

The country's population in mid-2011 was estimated at 177.1 million - 2.1 per cent higher than last year. Pakistan's population has been growing at a decelerating pace but the country still has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Population growth decelerated from 3.06 per cent in 1981 to 2.07 per cent in 2011.

FERTILITY

Fertility had shown a widely acknowledged resistance to change because of sharp decline in mortality in the post-World War II period when the population of Pakistan was growing at the rate of 2.7 per cent per annum around 1960 with total fertility rate (TFR) 7.95. There has been a continuous decline in TFR in the country for the last few years.

TREND IN FERTILITY RATE

YEAR (%)
2006 4.0
2007 3.9
2008 3.8
2009 3.7
2010 3.6
2011 3.5

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Unemployment is a major challenge facing not only Pakistan but also the entire world. Pakistan's unemployment rate had decreased from 8.3 per cent in 2001-02 to 5.2 per cent in 2007-08. However, unemployment rose to 5.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.

As far as rural and urban areas are concerned, there is a fractional change/increase in it i.e. 4.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent and 7.1 per cent to 7.2 per cent respectively. The change is visible in case of female. The quantum of unemployment is high in urban areas as compared to rural areas and the reason behind this may be that a major portion of labor force is working as unpaid family helper in rural area, which is classified as employed.

Pakistan has seen variation in its unemployment rates, as it was 8.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent in 2001-02 and 1999-00 respectively and later 5.6 per cent in 2009-10. The volume of unemployed persons increased from 2.93 million in 2008-09 to 3.05 million in 2009-10. Area and gender wise, the increase was more of rural and female provenance. Volume of unemployed persons increased in urban Punjab and Sindh and decreased in urban Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE & PHYSICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

During the financial 2009-10, Rs5250.9 million (including Rs225 million as a foreign exchange) was allocated to 29 projects and programmes of the population sector, which was Rs935.9 million (21.6 per cent) more than the allocation of Rs4315.00 million a year ago. However, the programme was capped at Rs3600.00 million and both the federal and provincial population welfare programmes were to utilize an estimated amount of Rs3,480.5 million (96.6 per cent of the capped PSDP) by the end of June 2010.

During 2009-10, the Population Welfare Programmes established 3327 service delivery outlets, which included 2853 family welfare centres and 182 reproductive health services.

CONCLUSION

There is a close link between population and economic/social growth. If a country's population growth is higher than its GDP, then it will cause a problem. The quality of life and living standards will decrease if its population surpasses the economic growth. The government should come up with better policies to check population growth. If Pakistan's population growth is not controlled, then this country will go downhill further.