While Pakistan recorded the lowest GDP growth rate, 2.4 per cent, among regional countries in 2010-11, the country’s population swelled at a rate of 2.1 per cent, the highest population growth rate in South Asia, adding more pressure on meagre resources the country has.
Despite claims by successive regimes of allocating huge amounts over the years on ‘population welfare’ programmes, the country has witnessed a decline of only 1.01 percentage points in population growth rate during the last 30 years.
The figures released on Thursday also show that during the year 2010, on average, eight babies were born and two people died every minute, resulting into a net addition of six individuals into the country’s population every minute. The document says Pakistan’s estimated population on July 1, 2010 was 177.1 million.
Employed, but not paid
Quoting figures from official Labour Force Survey 2009-10, the economic survey says that Pakistan, with 54.92 million people falling in employable age, is the 9th largest country in the world with respect to availability of labour force.
Of this, only 5.6 per cent were unemployed in 2009-10, marginally higher than 5.5 per cent unemployed in 2008-09, the survey claims.
The breakdown for the employment status, however, shows that a whopping 29.1 per cent of the ‘employed’ are ‘unpaid family helpers.’
Of the remaining, 1.3 per cent are employers, 34.2 per cent are self-employed while 35 per cent are employed by others. Of the ‘unpaid family helpers,’ more than two-thirds are women.
Comparative studies show that countries with higher contraceptive prevalence have lower population growth rates, survey says.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find Pakistan having the lowest contraceptive prevalence, at 30 per cent, not just in South Asia but among major Muslim countries.
Iran, which has been under a conservative regime for decades, has a contraception prevalence of 74 per cent. The average prevalence in Asia stands at 67 per cent.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.