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Country’s population surges to nearly 208m

August 26, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs a meeting of the Council of Common Interests at PM Office on Friday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs a meeting of the Council of Common Interests at PM Office on Friday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Friday approved provisional results of the sixth census that put the country’s population at 207.77 million with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent.

The approval was given at a meeting of the council presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and attended by all CCI members, including four chief ministers. For the first time after its reconstitution, the CCI could not take any other major decision, even though it briefly discussed a few other subjects on a 15-item agenda as presentations by the census organisation took much longer than anticipated.

The provisional summary of census results showed an increase of 57pc in the country’s population since 1998 — the last time the census was held — with Islamabad Capital Territory witnessing the highest population growth rate of 4.91pc. Among the provinces, the highest growth rate of 3.37pc was seen in Balochistan, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 2.89pc, Sindh 2.41pc and Punjab 2.13pc.

• In implications for NFC award and delimitation, provisional census results show highest growth rate in Balochistan, lowest in Punjab • Number of females lower at 101.3m than males at 106.449m • Sindh most urbanised province, with 52.02pc of people in cities

The figures would have implications for the National Finance Commission award and delimitation.

The census organisation told the meeting that the population had increased by 146.6pc since 1981, but there was a decline in the population growth rate at the national level and in Punjab and Sindh. The growth rate, however, increased in KP, Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The sixth Population and Housing Census was carried out across the country from March 15 to May 24, 2017. The country’s total population stood at 132.35m in 1998.

The number of females in the country was quite lower (101.3m) than male (106.449m) and this trend was witnessed in all the provinces with some variance in percentage.

The number of people stood at 110.01m (2.13pc annual growth rate), in Punjab, 47.89m (2.41pc growth) in Sindh, 30.52 m (2.89pc growth rate) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 12.34m (3.37pc annual growth) in Balochistan.

Urban population in the country increased by 36.38pc in 2017 from 32.5pc in 1998. The number of people living in rural areas was put at 132.189m — 64.886m female and 63.3m male. Urban population was counted at 75.584m — 36.428m female and 39.149m male. Interestingly, the annual growth rate was much lower (2.23pc) in rural areas than urban centres (2.70pc).

The total number of households at the national level stood at 32.205m — 20m in rural and 12.2m in urban areas.

PUNJAB: The total population in Punjab was put at 110.012m – 54.046m female and 55.958m male. A total of 69.6m people were reported in rural areas and 40.389m in urban areas with annual growth rate of 1.81pc in rural and 2.74pc in urban centers.

SINDH: The total number of people in Sindh was reported at 47.88m – 22.975m in rural and 24.9m in urban areas. The number of female was counted at 11.05m and male at 11.92m. The annual growth rate stood at 2.36pc in rural and 2.46pc in urban areas.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA: The province has a total population of 30.523m – 15.054m female and 15.467m male. Its rural population was counted at 24.79m and urban at 5.73m. The annual growth rate stood at 2.87pc in rural and 2.96pc in urban areas.

BALOCHISTAN: The province’s total population was reported at 12.344m – 5.86m female and 6.83m male. It has 8.943m people living in rural and 3.4m in urban areas. Its growth rate was reported at 3.33pc in rural and 3.49pc in urban areas.

FATA: Thetotal population in the tribal region stood at 5m – 2.445m female and 2.557m male. It has total households of 558,379 – 4.859m in rural and 141,898 in urban areas.

ICT: The total population of Islamabad stood at 2m – 0.95m female and 1.055m male. Its growth rate was 6.95pc in rural and 3.48pc in urban areas.

The meeting directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Statistics to ensure early completion of final figures so that economic and social planning of the country could be brought to scientific footing.

Matters pertaining to the Higher Education Commission and similar bodies in the post-18th Amendment scenario were also discussed at the meeting. The prime minister emphasised the need for greater efforts by all the provinces towards standardisation and improvement of infrastructure of educational institutions to improve the quality of higher education in the country and bring it on a par with the international standards.

The inquiry into corruption charges in relation to Katchi Canal was also discussed by the CCI. The prime minister observed that transparency and accountability should be strictly ensured in all public projects. He directed that implementation report on the findings of the inquiry be completed by Sept 15 and presented at the next CCI meeting.

Other outstanding issues between the provinces, including net hydel profit, national water policy and import of liquefied natural gas, were also discussed, but with a promise to continue discussions at next meeting. Matters relating to provision of additional water to Karachi and Balochistan’s complaint against Sindh for low water releases were deferred.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2017