Population growth rate still high at 1.9%
KARACHI: Pakistan still has a relatively high population growth rate of 1.9 percent per annum, said the State Bank of Pakistan in its annual report 2003-2004.
Pakistanis make up 2.5 percent of the world’s population, which makes it the sixth most populous country and its population growth rate is still among the highest in the region.
The total fertility rate in Pakistan has declined from 4.8 children per woman in fiscal year 2000 to 4.1 children per woman in 2003-2004. This reduction is significant but the rate is still well above 2.1 children per woman, the long-term target of the population policy.
The SBP said that if this situation is to change in the long run, Pakistan has to focus on reducing its population growth rate to a sustainable level, while seeking to benefit in the medium term from its growing labour force by investing heavily in human capital development.
This situation is contributing to the worsening of social indicators in the country. The adverse impact of high population growth is compounded by the neglect of the social sector, in particular health and education, keeping the productivity of country’s large labour pool low.
The demographic scene in Pakistan clearly shows, according to the SBP, that while it appears to have made a breakthrough in achieving a declining trend in fertility and population growth rate, these changes are modest.
In order to accomplish population policy 2002 targets, sustained efforts are required to further reduce population growth. This policy is designed to achieve social and economic revival by curbing the rapid population growth and thereby reducing its adverse consequences for development.
The overall vision of the population policy is to achieve population stabilization by 2020 through the completion of a demographic transition.
This would be possible by balancing resources and population, creating awareness of the adverse consequence of rapid population growth and reducing the fertility rate.
Despite the fall in the population growth rate, it will take several decades to bring the country’s population to a stable level. According to population projections of the United Nations Population Division, Pakistan’s population size will increase significantly in the coming decades.