Population growth out of control

Ppi May 11, 2010

PESHAWAR: Pakistan will need 3,057 additional health facilities, 4.6 million housing units and 8.6 million employment opportunities in the current year, just to maintain the current per capita levels services, according to a PPI report.

The estimates above use figures from the year 2000 as basis.

At 1.9% Population Growth Rate (PGR) annually, Pakistan’s population will be doubled in 37 years, unless and until there is a well-coordinated combination of measures to reduce fertility rate

Pakistan, with a population of 153.45 million in mid 2005 was the 6th most populated country in the world.

Since 1901, the population of the area now constituting Pakistan has increased nine-fold.

In absolute numbers; almost 111 million persons have been added to the population in the 44 years (1961-2005).

As a result, movement of population to urban areas had increased from 6 million in 1951 to 43 millions in 1998. In 1998, almost one-third of population of Pakistan was residing in urban areas imposing competing demands on available infrastructure like housing, transportation, electricity, water, sewerage, sanitation, etcetera.

The fast growth of population is also putting pressure on agricultural land; there were 4.1 million agricultural farms in 1980. Due to fragmentation their number had risen to 6.2 million in 2000.

Pakistan’s rapid population growth is one of the main impediments in way of government efforts for achieving the overall National Development Goals and Sustained Socio-Economic growth. It is imperative to stabilize population so that burden on existing infrastructure is reduced and the reward of economic growth is not diluted by rapid increase in population.

The recent improvement in the micro economic indicator of Pakistan and its trickle down effects would not be shared by a larger segment of population due to the growth rate.

A high level of poverty is an indication that even the process of urbanization has not helped. Rather it has added a new dimension to economic and social challenges.

Urban population has doubled between 1951 and 1998.

An urgent step in the right direction would be to bring population to the centre stage of development.

Developing countries of the world, by their experience have learnt that rapid population growth is a hurdle in way of economic development.

Pakistan will be facing serious shortages in the years to come if the present rate of natural population increase persists.