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Census results show 59.7pc growth in Karachi's population, 116pc in Lahore's since 1998

Updated August 28, 2017

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Karachi, which retains its title as Pakistan's largest city, is now home to 14.9m people. Photo: File
Karachi, which retains its title as Pakistan's largest city, is now home to 14.9m people. Photo: File

Census data on the populations of the largest cities in Pakistan shows explosive growth in urban centres since the last census, which was conducted nearly two decades ago.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics' data, the two biggest population centres, Karachi and Lahore, have seen some staggering growth since 1998: with Karachi's population growing close to 60pc to reach 14.91 million, while Lahore's population more than doubled to 11.13m from 5.14m nearly two decades earlier.

The populations of the other provincial capitals, Quetta and Peshawar, have respectively grown 77.2pc and 100pc to 1m and 1.97m from 565,137 and 982,816 a decade ago.

The data is likely to cast fresh light on rural-urban migration trends, as these four cities seem to have retained their status as regional hubs for people looking for better opportunities.

According to the listing, of the 10 largest cities in the country by population, seven had populations lower than 2m while three had a population below 1m in 1998. In 2017, none of the ten cities has a population less than 1m, while half of the cities now have populations north of 2m.

The ranking of the cities, according to population, is as follows:

  1. Karachi (14.9m)

  2. Lahore (11.1m)

  3. Faisalabad (3.2m)

  4. Rawalpindi (2.1m)

  5. Gujranwala (2m)

  6. Peshawar (2m)

  7. Multan (1.9m)

  8. Hyderabad (1.7m)

  9. Islamabad (1m)

  10. Quetta (1m)