Karachi up top, but not by much

Published: August 26, 2017
A census team in Karachi. PHOTO: EXPRESS / FILE

A census team in Karachi. PHOTO: EXPRESS / FILE

ISLAMABAD: Karachi has retained the title of the most populous city of Pakistan, but its population stood at only 14.9 million, which is far below the number anyone anticipated.

Provisional results of the Sixth Population Census show that in the past 19 years, there was a 60% increase in Karachi’s population, compared with a 116% increase in Lahore’s population, which rose to 11.126 million people by 2017, showed the results. Lahore also witnessed the highest growth rate in Pakistan followed by Peshawar (100.4%) and Islamabad (91.8%).

During the past 19 years, Karachi’s population increased from 9.339 million to 14.91 million – a net addition of 5.56 million people. Compared to this, Lahore’s population increased from 5.143 million to 11.126 million, showing an addition of almost 6 million more people, according to the provincial results.

Karachi and Lahore were the only two cities of Pakistan that hosted more than 10 million people. Of the 10 most populous cities, five are in Punjab, two in Sindh, and one each in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad Capital Territory. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics categorised cities as ‘notified urban areas’, which is why there are discrepancies between population estimates that may include suburbs of the major cities.

6th census findings: 207 million and counting

The Faisalabad Metropolitan Corporation was the third-largest city, with 3.2 million people. There was a net addition of 1.2 million people in the past 19 years – or a 59.43% increase since 1998.

Rawalpindi city hosted the fourth-highest number of people with 2.098 million. In 1998, Rawalpindi’s population was 1.4 million. It grew by 48.8% in the past 19 years. The Gujranwala Metropolitan Corporation was in fifth place with 2.027 million people. Its population increased by 78.9% or 894,000 in the past 19 years.

Peshawar was the sixth-largest urban centre with 1.97 million people. In 1998, the provincial capital’s population was only 983,000. One of the reasons for the massive spike could be migration from the war-torn Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Multan was the seventh major city, hosting 1.872 million people. Its population grew by 56.4% or 675,000 since 1998.

Why the census is important for Pakistan 

Hyderabad was the eighth-most populous city with 1.733 million people. There was a net addition of 566,000 people in the past 19 years – or 48.5%, which was the lowest growth rate of cities in the top 10.

Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation’s population increased 91.8% to 1.015 million people.

Quetta city hosts 1.001 million people, becoming the 10th-biggest major city. Its population increased by 77% or 436,000 during the past 19 years.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Ali khan
    Aug 26, 2017 - 11:39AM

    When u take all the money from Karachi to invest in Lahore what do u expect from Punjabi leaders.Recommend

  • Imran
    Aug 26, 2017 - 12:14PM

    Dear Census Team, I cannot believe Karachi population to be 14.9 million Recommend

  • faizan mirza
    Aug 26, 2017 - 1:05PM

    This is by far the best joke of the decade. People expected it to be some 20 lakh, & here we are with 14lakh.
    What an amazing overestimation by neutral sources Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Aug 26, 2017 - 1:35PM

    This has to be a joke.Recommend

  • Pakistani-American
    Aug 26, 2017 - 2:24PM

    Karachi’s population exceeds 20 million. This is absurd.Recommend

  • AlphaBravoCharlie
    Aug 26, 2017 - 2:27PM

    Read Again idiots. It says population in areas marked as “urban” which does not include the suburbs. Karachi has equal or little less population dwelling in its suburbs aswell.Recommend

  • Karachiite
    Aug 27, 2017 - 12:30AM


    Wrong. Almost 90% of Karachi population is living in urban areas.Recommend

  • Syed Huzaifa Ahmed
    Aug 27, 2017 - 1:17AM

    @faizan mirza:
    Lol… Not lakh.. Say million. Or 2 carore and 1.4 caroor… The best joke of the decade. Recommend

  • Syed Huzaifa Ahmed
    Aug 27, 2017 - 1:22AM

    This made me laugh my as off.. Even if we exclude suburbs, karachi would still cross 25 million i am sure.. Recommend

  • uzair
    Aug 28, 2017 - 2:37PM

    What’s wrong with these Karachi Walas?
    So the city is not as big as they imagined in their equally big heads, stop crying like babies and accept a factRecommend

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