Islamabad: Pakistan has become the world’s 5th most populous country, replacing Brazil. According to a German media report citing the United Nations, Pakistan recorded a population of 220.1 million on the World Population Day July 11, 2020, leaving Brazil one level down. The South American nation is home to 212.5 million people.
According to the latest figures, Pakistan is now the fifth most populated country in the world after China, India, the United States and Indonesia.
According to the UN, Pakistan’s population has increased by six times between July 1950 and July 2020. Currently, the country’s annual birth rate stands at 2.8 per cent.
Besides, Pakistan has the highest population growth rate among SAARC countries at 2.8% which means an addition of 3.6 million people every year.
The number of Pakistanis will reach a whopping 250.13 million by 2030 and if the pace continues, the population is predicted to double in size in the next 34 years, according to the report.
Shrinking resources, increasing burden
According Dr Zeba Sattar, Country Director Population Council, a non-government organisation (NGO) working on population issues, the report should serve as an eye opener for the government as well as the people “as in June we were on the sixth level but in July just in a period of one month we are standing fifth level in terms of population”.
Dr Sattar was of the view that the increase in population makes it harder for the government to provide even basic necessities of life to its people. It is time for the parents to go for family planning so that their children could enjoy all the rights, like education, food and shelter.
Mortality rate in Pakistan is high among newborns and the mothers as well, she said, adding that every year around 12,000 women die during child birth.
Six censuses in 7 decades
Since 1951, there have been only six nationwide censuses (1961, 1972, 1981, 1998 and 2017). Delays and postponements have often been due to politicisation of the issue.
Pakistan’s last completed census took place in 2017.
In March 2017, Pakistan carried out the census after nearly two decades. The successful execution of the census was made possible largely because of improved security conditions in the region.
Historically, the government has not taken the issue seriously. Pakistan’s population increased from 32.5 million to 177.1 million between 1947 and 2011, and from 177.1 million to 220 million in 2020.