Urban Gazette on 6th Population & Housing Census 2017


6th Population & Housing Census 2017

Population Growth

Pakistan is world’s 6th most populous country. In 2017, the country’s population reached 207.8 million (excluding Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan), showing an increase of 75.4 million people in 19 years. This means that since 1998, the country has seen 57% increase in its population. Fig i. shows the trend line of country’s population from 1951 till 2047. Population projections were drawn by two methodologies. The first uses UNDESA‘s high fertility variant growth rates and the second uses 2017 Census’ average population growth rate (2.4%). According to our first method, by 2047 country’s population is expected to have increased by another 137.5 million, while the latter suggests an increase of 215.5 million. Fig ii. shows the number of years it took to add one crore (10 million) to Pakistan’s population. It helps understand how the population growth rate has changed dramatically over time. From 4 crore in 1953 to 5 crore in 1963, it took 10 years for the country’s population to increase by its first crore. While it only took 2 years for it to increase from 20 crore in 2015 to 21 crore in 2017.

Population Growth Rate by Level of Development & Population Doubling Time

Today, Pakistan’s annual average population growth rate is 2.4%. Fig iii. visualizes how the population growth rate has changed worldwide for the various levels of development overtime, and where does Pakistan stand in their comparison. Developed countries reached highest population growth rates long ago and their population growth rates have been falling for many decades now. Less developed countries' growth rate peaked in the late 1960s and in the least developed countries the population growth rate peaked around 1990. Pakistan’s growth rate reached its pinnacle around the 1971 East Pakistan War at 3.9%, higher than that observed for any of the levels of development, and has been on a decline ever since. Over the last two decades we are seeing declining population growth rates in countries at all stages of development, including Pakistan. Pakistan’s growth rate (2.4%) is also significantly higher than that of other largely populated countries like China (0.54%), India (1.24%), USA (0.72) and Bangladesh (1.16%). Population doubling time, calculated using the ‘Rule of 70’, shows that given Pakistan’s current growth rate, it will take the country aprox. 29 years for its population to double. While the aforementioned countries will take much longer.

Population Growth at Provincial Level

With 110 million residents, Punjab remains Pakistan’s most populated province. Though, its share in the country’s population pie has declined from 55.6% in 1998 to 52.9% in 2017. Balochistan, KPK and ICT are the beneficiaries of this reduction in Punjab’s share. Balochistan’s share went up from 5 to 6%, KPK’s increased from 13.4 to 14.7% and ICT’s from 0.6 to 1%, while Sindh and FATA’s shares remained consistent at 23% and 2.4% respectively.

Population at District and Municipal Corporation Level

8 out of the 10 most populated districts in the country are located in Punjab. These include Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh and Sialkot. Lahore, with 11.1 million residents is on top of the list. Peshawar’s population has doubled between 1998 and 2017, changing its rank from 19th in 1998 to 8th most populated district in 2017. Karachi West District stands 9th with a population of 3.9 million residents.

Population Density

Pakistan’s average population density is 261 per sq. km. In past 19 years, it has increased by almost 100 per sq. km. Of the four provinces, Punjab has the highest density i.e. 536 per sq. km, followed by KPK and Sindh with average densities of 410 and 340 per sq. km respectively. Balochistan is extremely low in density, with an average number of 36 residents per sq. km. ICT, being mostly urban, has an average density of 2215 per sq. km. While FATA’s density is 184 per sq. km.

Urban vs Rural Population

According to the 2017 Census results, 36% of the country’s population lives in urban areas. Punjab is the most urbanized province with 63% of its residents settled in urban areas. It is worth mentioning here that the 2017 census only considers the people residing in metropolitan and municipal corporations, municipal committees or cantonments as urban. All the residual are rural. Since this criteria assumes that people living in contiguous areas outside of these administrative boundaries are rural, the country’s urban population is largely under-estimated.

Average Household Size

Pakistan’s average household size has declined from 6.82 persons in 1998 to 6.45 persons in 2017. With an average number of 9 persons in each household, FATA has the largest household size, followed by KPK (7.9), Balochistan (7), Punjab (6.4), ICT (6) and Sindh(5.6). Besides Balochistan, the average household size of all the regions has reduced since 1998.

Number of Households by District

9 out of 10 districts with the highest number of households are located in Punjab. Lahore is at the top of the list with 1,758 thousand households, followed by Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, RYK, Muzaffargarh, Sargodha and Bahawalpur districts. Karachi West District in Sindh ranks 8th with 634 thousand households.

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