Source: Arab News
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s population has surged by more than half to 207 million, according to provisional results of the country’s first census in almost two decades released by the statistics board Friday.
The provisional results published on the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) website showed an average annual growth of 2.4 percent since 1998, when the total population was put at 132.35 million.
Pakistan had not held a census for nearly two decades due to years of bickering by politicians concerned it could redraw the political map, raising fears over power bases and federal funding.
The updated figure — an increase of around 57 percent since 1998 — is higher than the estimate of 200 million that had been in wide use, and sees fast-growing Pakistan surpass Brazil as the world’s fifth most populous country, according to statistics listed by the US Census Bureau.
Central Punjab province remained far and away the most populated, home to more than 110 million people or more than half the country — but it also showed the slowest average annual growth rate, at 2.13 percent.
The areas with the fastest growth rates were southern Balochistan province, with a population of more than 12 million and an average growth rate since 1998 of 3.37 percent, and the Islamabad Capital Territory, whose population passed 2 million with an average growth rate of 4.91 percent.
The results from the count, which began in March, were also set to help give a clearer picture about religious minority numbers in the Muslim-majority country.
The weeks-long process, a challenge in a country known for corruption and dysfunction, deployed a team of more than 300,000 people and involved 55 million forms.
It will be the basis for revising political boundaries, parliamentary seat allocations and finances ahead of national elections, due to be held by the end of 2018.