Pakistan’s population is 207.68m, shows 2017 census result

Published May 19, 2021
In this file photo, an enumerator marks a house after collecting information from a resident during a census in Karachi. — AFP/File
In this file photo, an enumerator marks a house after collecting information from a resident during a census in Karachi. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has posted the final results of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017 on its website, according to which the country’s total population stands at 207.68 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent.

The population includes 106.018m males, 101.344m females and 321,744 transgender persons.

“The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Dec 16, 2016 decided to conduct the census in two phases with the support of the armed forces. The PBS demarcated the whole country into small compact areas called census clocks comprising 200 to 250 houses on an average, with a total number of over 1.68 million blocks with well-defined boundaries and maps. The entire delimitation process was carried out with the close coordination of provincial governments, local governments, revenue department and district administrations,” the bureau states on its website.

Count includes 106m males, 101m females, 321,744 transgender persons

After a three-year delay, the federal cabinet had approved the 2017 census in December last year in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan — with a dissenting note submitted by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, one of the federal government’s allies. Since Sindh had opposed the exercise, it also rejected the release of the final results that were approved by the CCI last month.

Taking into account the objections raised by Sindh and other stakeholders, the government also decided to hold the next census in October by using the latest technology to avoid chances of any mistakes/errors, as reported in the previous exercise. It also committed to releasing the results of the new census by 2023.

According to the final results of the 2017 census, the country’s annual growth dropped to 2.4pc from 3.06pc and 2.69pc, as recorded in the 1981 and 1998 censuses, respectively. The total population in 1981, 1998 and 2017 was recorded at 84.25m, 132.35m and 207.68m, respectively.

The total count in the 2017 exercise included 132.013m rural and 75.670m urban population.

The population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was 11.06m and 17.74m as per the 1981 and 1998 census results, jumped to 30.51m in 2017. The number of people in the erstwhile Fata, which was recorded at 2.20m and 3.18m in 1981 and 1998, increased to 4.99m.

Punjab, being the largest province in terms of population, stood at 109.99m people that earlier recorded 47.29m and 73.62m people in the 1981 and 1998 exercises, respectively. Sindh, which recorded a population of 19.3m and 30.44m in 1981 and 1998, jumped to 47.85m people in the 2017 census.

However, Balochistan’s population almost tripled to 12.34m that was 4.33m in 1981 and 6.57m in 1998. Similarly, the population of Islamabad Capital Territory increased six-fold — from 0.34m in 1981 and 0.81m in 1998 — to 2m.

On the basis of religions, the total population count includes 96.47pc Muslims, followed by 1.27pc Christians, 1.73pc Hindus, 0.09pc Ahmadis, 0.41pc scheduled caste and 0.02pc others.

The census results also state that 7.08pc of the people mentioned Urdu as their mother language, 38.78pc Punjabi, 14.57pc Sindhi, 18.24pc Pashto, 3.02pc Balochi, 0.17pc Kashmiri, 12.19pc Seraiki, 2.44pc Hindko, 1.24pc Brahvi and 2.26pc others.

“With a -0.043pc difference with the provisional results, the country’s population, as per final results of census 2017, is 207.68m with a population growth rate of 2.40pc from 1998 to 2017 with 106.3m males and 101.3m females,” the PBS website stated.

It said the 2017 census was conducted in two phases, with each being 30-day long. Phase-I began on March 15 and concluded on April 14, 2017 in which 61 administrative districts comprising 79,773 blocks were enumerated. Phase-II started 10 days later and lasted from April 25 to May 24, 2017, covering 89 administrative districts comprising 89,170 blocks.

The statistics bureau’s brief report on the 2017 census posted on its website reads that a “de jure approach (usual place for residence)” had been used for data collection, as per the practice adopted in the past censuses. In order to lend credibility to the operation, the pattern of 1998 census was adopted, with a soldier accompanying each enumerator. One team was assigned two blocks in the same area, it adds.

The report further states that 108,000 civilian field and monitoring staff had been deputed by the provincial governments and the armed forces provided 200,000 personnel for census duty, of which 44,000 were deployed with civilian enumerators. The remaining personnel were used for security, command structure and logistic support duties.

“For a successful conduct of the census, improvement in census processes and involvement of stakeholders, the government of Pakistan constituted a sub-committee of the Governing Council of PBS consisting of renowned demographers and experts on Jan 31, 2017 with terms of reference to oversee the whole census process from trainings, data collection, processing and finalisation of results,” the report mentions.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2021

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