Pakistan’s population surpasses 240 million, shows new census - GulfToday

Pakistan’s population surpasses 240 million, shows new census


Photo used for illustrative purposes.

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

Pakistan’s population has crossed 240 million and the growth rate stands at 2.55 per cent, according to the new national population census.

The government has reiterated that the next general elections, due to take place later this year will be held using the new census findings.

The latest census shows the population has jumped to 241.49m in 2023, an increase of around 33.8 million people compared to 2017, when the last census was conducted, and over around 110m compared to the 1998 census. The growth rate has jumped to 2.55% from 2.4% in 2017 but was lower than 2.69% in 1998.

Sarwar Gondal, focal person of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), said that all structures of Pakistan have been geotagged during the latest census.

The approval of the census by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has set the stage for new nationwide delimitations of the constituencies — an exercise that may need about four to six months, a senior government official said.

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Besides, a constitutional quandary arises if changes are made to the constituencies by reallocating seats from one province to another based on the new census results, he said, adding that in the previous census, seats were transferred from Punjab to Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Consequently, the official said, a constitutional amendment would be necessary in this scenario, which would require a two-thirds majority. The current government’s term is set to expire on Aug.12.

The last election in 2018 was conducted based on delimitation conducted on pre-2017 census data, with a one-time waiver granted for this purpose. However, under the present circumstances, the government will be compelled to conduct the upcoming election based on the 2017 census, for which constituency delimitations have already been carried out.

Gondal said census data played a crucial role in guiding governments to allocate funds and release funds to provinces, districts and local areas. It was also used to determine the redistribution of National Assembly seats by defining the boundaries of legislative districts, he said.

While Punjab and Sindh have seen their population growth rates rise to 2.53% and 2.57%, respectively, when compared to the 2017 data, the growth rates in KP, Baluchistan and Islamabad have decreased. The most significant change was observed in Islamabad, where the growth rate plunged from 4.91% in 2017 to 2.81% in 2023. Balochistan’s growth rate has slightly dropped but still stood at 3.2%, the highest of all.

The census results also show that around 61pc of Pakistanis live in rural areas compared to 39pc in urban areas. This suggests that the rural population has decreased or shifted to urban areas, as 64pc people used to live in rural areas in 2017 and 68pc in 1998.

This downtrend in rural population numbers was also visible in all provinces. However, Islamabad was an exception, where the percentage of the rural population has consistently increased from 34.4pc in 1998 to 49.6% in 2017 and to 53% in 2023.


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