Pakistan has higher than average population growth rate in South Asian: New survey

KARACHI: Population size, growth rate, and its composition play an important role in the social and economic development of a country. Demographic statistics of a country is essential for drafting the plans, frame work of economic policies and judging the growth and development. Pakistan is among those developing countries where population growth is fairly high.

According to new Pakistan Economic Survey 2013-14, at present it is the sixth most populous country in the world with projected population of 188 million. According to World Population Data Sheet 2013, Pakistan with population of 363 million in 2050 is expected to retain the same position. The population growth rate in Pakistan is 1.95 percent which is higher than average growth rate of South Asian countries. The major cause behind higher growth rate is high fertility rate.

Although, over time various governments have been trying to tackle the issues of high population growth rate through introducing different programmes like Family Welfare Centers (FWC), Reproductive Health Services Centers (RHS-A), Regional Training Institutes and Mobile Services Unit. However, these programmes could not achieve the desired results mainly due to low literacy level particularly among women in rural areas, cultural and religious constraints, and lack of skills in promoting family planning. It is worth mentioning that female education has a significant effect on fertility.

Women having higher education have a fewer children as compared to women with less education. Therefore, each year the number of inhabitants is increasing whereas the resources available in the country are limited due to which demographic imbalance is increasing. But this demographic imbalance can be improved with the help of youth population of the country. Pakistan is one of the world’s largest youth bulge country with 48 percent population aged 15-49 and 56 percent (age 15-64) is in productive age group.

This young and dynamic population is considered an omen of prosperity. They can contribute for the economy and society with their education and skill. With proper education and training and balanced health facilities, they can prove to be an asset of the country and can be a source of future prosperity and development of the country. Demography is the study of the growth, change and structure of the human population. The demographic indicators, therefore, are comprised of the collection of information that summarizes the historical evolution of different changes related with population.

Major demographic indicators are changes in the size, structure, and population composition and population growth. Changes in the size and structure of population are due to changes in the birth rate, death rate and the net migration. Crude Birth Rate: Crude Birth Rate (CBR) is the annual number of live births per one thousand persons. CBR of more than 30 per thousand is considered high and a rate of less than 18 per thousand is considered low. The global CBR in 2013 was 20 per thousand, while the CBR in Pakistan has been marginally improved from 26.8 percent in 2013 to 26.4 percent in 2014. Crude Death Rate: Crude Death Rate (CDR) is defined as total death per one thousand persons in a year.

CDR of less than ten per thousand is considered as low while above twenty per thousand is considered as high. The global CDR was 8 persons per one thousand in mid 2013. However, improvements in health services and expansion in medical facilities in Pakistan have led to decline in CDR from 7.0 percent in 2013 to 6.9 percent in 2014. These rates are often referred as crude rates because they do not take into account population age structure. Life Expectancy Life expectancy is the number of years a person would be expected to live, starting from birth and it measures quantity rather than quality of life. Globally it is observed that high life expectancy is associated with high income per capita, improved nutrition, better hygiene, access to safe drinking water, effective birth control and immunization and other better medical facilities. Life expectancy in women is higher than men.

Currently, the global life expectancy for both male and female is 70 years. However, while considering it gender wise, the life expectancy for males is 68 years and for females is 73 years- a difference of five years. In Pakistan, the average life expectancy has improved from 64.6 in 2013 to 64.9 in 2014 for males and for females it has improved from 66.5 in 2013 to 66.9 in 2014. Marital status is defined as the personal status of each individual in relation to the marriage laws or customs of the country. Population distribution by marital status is the percentage distribution of the population in a given age group by the different marital status categories. Following Table 12.3 shows the percentage of married population in different age brackets. The lowest age bracket is 10- 19 in this age bracket around 7 percent people are married, which means that average marriage age in Pakistan has increased.

The rate of women and men who have never married shows the decreasing trend with the increasing age. According to Pakistan Labour Force survey 2012-13, 94 percent of the population of the age bracket 35-39 is married. The most phenomenal increase in married population may be seen in the age bracket 20-29 where percentage of married population has increased 73 percent. This is the most fertile age of population growth

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