Pakistan faces bulging urban population



Bilal Kanjal

Pakistan is the sixth most populated country in the world with an estimated population of 199.71 millions. The estimated population growth and fertility rate is 1.86 and 3.0 respectively. The government is well-aware of the issue of high population growth and fertility rate and trying to overcome through different programmes like establishment of Family Welfare Centers (FWC), Reproductive Health Services Centers (RHS), Regional Training Institutes and Mobile Services Unit. The government has allocated Rs 8176 million in 2016-17 for population welfare programmes for smooth functioning.

In Pakistan, 10.9 per cent of total population is between the ages of 0-4 years and 21.2 per cent is between 5-14 years. Population composition of the country is skewed towards working age population as 61.4 per cent of population is falling in the age group 15-59.This demographic dividend may be best utilised for the economic growth by providing proper education, skill and vocational training in coming years.

The long awaited 6th National Population Census is underway in Pakistan but according to economic survey 2016-2017 the estimated population in Pakistan is 199.1 million in 2017 and it was 195.4 million in 2016.

The life expectancy improved according to this economic survey for male from 65.5 years in 2016 to 65.8 years in 2017. In this sense the government says that the increase in healthy life of individual means people are living longer on account of awareness, better nutrition, health care programmes, improved sanitation facilities and economic well being but in ground realities seen nothing.

The document revealed that crude birth rate has improved from 26.1 per thousand in 2015 to 25.6 per thousand in 2016 and 25.2 per thousand in 2017. While the crude death rate has declined from 6.8 per thousand in 2015 to 6.7 per thousand in 2016 and 6.8 per thousand in 2017.

The survey also tells that urban population has increased from 77.93 million in 2016 to 80.72 million in 2017 while rural population has increased 117.48 million in 2016 to 118.38 million in 2017.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has paid around Rs 5.74 billion tuition fee to 187,544 deserving students of less developed areas across Pakistan. Manpower export has decreased from 0.94 million in 2015 to 0.839 million in 2016.