Demographic Profile of Pakistan

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• The Islamic Republic of Pakistan covers an area in South Asia of 310,000 square miles, about twice the size of California. The country borders India in the east, China in the north, Afghanistan in the north-west, Iran in the west and the Arabian Sea in the south. It has four major provinces (Punjab, Sindh, North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan) and two territories (Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Islamabad Capital Territory). The most populous province, Punjab, has only 26 percent of the land area but is home to about one-half (56% in the 1998 census) of the 143 million people estimated to live in Pakistan in 2002. Pakistan, a former British colony, gained independence on August 14, 1947. It was formed at that time by partitioning British India to create a homeland for India's Muslim population separate from the largely Hindu India. However, this partition was never fully resolved. Originally, Pakistan comprised West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). After a third war between Pakistan and India in 1971, East Pakistan seceded to become the separate nation of Bangladesh. A dispute over the state of Kashmir, which lies between Pakistan and India, is ongoing. The government of Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister serves as the head of the government and is elected by the National Assembly. The President functions as the head of state and is elected by the National Assembly, the Senate, and the four provincial assemblies. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, which had 529,000 residents in the 1998 census. The national language of Pakistan is Urdu, which is spoken by eight percent of the people. The mostly widely spoken language is Punjabi (44%). The main ethnic groups are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch and Muhajir (immigrants from India and their descendents). Islam is the state religion, and 96 to 97 percent of the population are Muslims. The remainder is Hindus, Christians and members of other religions.

Population Characteristics
• Pakistan has sustained significant population growth in the past century. In 1901, the population was estimated at 17 million. According to the first census in 1951, Pakistani population was 34 million. By the 1998 census, the population had quadrupled to 132 million inhabitants, making Pakistan the seventh most populous country in the world. At its current rate, Pakistan’s population will double by 2035.

Having grown at an average rate of 3.1 percent between 1951 and 1981, the population growth rate in Pakistan has been declining steadily thereafter (it averaged 2.7% from 1981-1998) and reached 2.1 percent by 1998. Yet its growth rate is still comparatively high, and according to UN projections, Pakistan will become the fourth most populous country by the year 2050. Although its urban population is steadily increasing, Pakistan remains a largely rural country. In 1998, 32.5 percent lived in urban areas, up from 28.3 percent in 1981. Urban population was only 17.8 percent at the time of first census in 1951. In 1981, three cities had population of more than one million. By 1998, the number had increased to seven. Karachi was the largest city with 9.3 million in 1998, followed by Lahore with 5.4 million and Faisalabad with 2.0 million. The population density in 1998 was 166 persons per square kilometer (430 persons per square mile), more 10 times the population density of 16 per sq. km in North America. The average household size is 6.8 persons, according to 1998 census, with 6.5 for urban and 7.4 for rural areas.

• In 1999, life expectancy was estimated at 65 years by the Pakistani Federal Bureau of Statistics. Despite higher female mortality at younger ages and during the reproductive years, a woman's life expectancy was 66 years, compared to 64 for a man. In 1999, the birth rate was 30.2 births per 1,000 population and the crude death rate was 8.3 per 1,000...
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