Pakistan Facing Population Explosion

Pakistan Facing Population Explosion

Pakistan Facing Population Explosion

Pakistan is facing a population explosion. The South Asian country, already the fifth most populous in the world, saw a 16.3 per cent growth in population between 2017 and 2023. This brought the total number of people to 241.5 million by the end of 2023.

According to Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2023-24, the country’s population density increased from 260.88 persons per square km in 2017 to 303 in 2023.

Pakistan’s population has been experiencing exponential population growth over the past few decades. Several factors have contributed to this increase including high birth rates, limited access to family planning services, religious beliefs and cultural norms. According to the United Nations, Pakistan’s population is projected to reach 403 million by 2050 if current growth trends continue unchecked.

In addition, between 2017 and 2023, Pakistan’s urban population increased from 75.67 million to 93.75 million, making it one of the most urbanised nations in South Asia. Almost 39 per cent of the population of Pakistan now lives in urban areas, a demographic that is impacting the country’s economy and development, leading to severe challenges in employment opportunities, infrastructure development, healthcare, security and governance.

The Sindh province has the highest urban population, up from 51.89 per cent in 2017 to 53.73 per cent in 2023. The Punjab province ranks second with an increase from 36.86 per cent to 40.70 per cent over the same period.

Pakistan’s rapid population growth has resulted in numerous challenges, including increased pressure on natural resources, inadequate healthcare facilities, and a strain on infrastructure. The demand for food, water, housing, and energy has surged in recent years, leading to resource scarcity and environmental degradation.

Lack of family planning and birth control measures stand as significant factors in the country’s rapid population growth. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where there is limited awareness and a reluctance to adopt modern contraceptive methods. As a result, many families have larger numbers of children than they can adequately support. Empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about family planning will not only help to curb the population growth but also improve the overall well-being and prosperity of Pakistan’s communities.

Religious beliefs and practices also play a significant role in influencing population growth in Pakistan. In a country where religion holds immense significance in the lives of its people, certain interpretations of religious teachings are known to encourage larger families. Some religious beliefs emphasise the importance of procreation and view children as a blessing and a source of divine favour.

Pakistan’s population explosion is having an increasingly negative environmental impact. This includes increased waste generation and pollution which, in turn, contribute to the acceleration of climate change. With more people consuming resources and producing waste, the pressure on natural ecosystems continues to intensify. Improper waste management practices are further exacerbating the problem as landfills overflow and pollution contaminates air, water, and soil.

“While the nation is preoccupied with the issues like early elections, corruption, IMF and so on, the policymakers should be reminded that the population clock is ticking. Population explosion, indeed, has become an existential threat for Pakistan. Only watchful practices and sound policies may limit the fatal impacts of overpopulation. Better legislation and increased investments in education can cure the misinformed masses. The onus also lies on the people to understand the gravity of the issue. Are we waiting patiently for an explosion? The explosion of a population bomb will inevitably devastate us in the near future and it would be difficult to get back on the track if the train spins out of our control.”

Pakistan Today

Knowledge and education appear to hold the key to recognising the severity of Pakistan’s population explosion and aiding its government in tackling this critical issue. The empowerment of women will be a key factor in curbing population growth rates, while raising literacy levels is crucial to achieving population control (the national literacy rate in 2020-21 was just 62.8 per cent).

Meaningful discussions on family planning are imperative. Pakistan’s resources are depleting rapidly, cities are overcrowded and polluted, and the country’s environment deteriorating. Pakistan’s myriad problems, from poverty to climate change, have been caused, or at the very least exacerbated, by decades of unchecked population growth. A crisis that does not appear to be easing any time soon.

Pakistan facing population explosion
Lack of family planning and birth control measures stand as significant factors in Pakistan’s rapid population growth. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where there is a reluctance to adopt modern contraceptive methods.

Submitted by Friends of Retha

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