Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

P & R Vol.2 Issue 3
Fertility decline requires wider social policy measures for females
Publication Year : 2021

Tthat the higher population growth adversely affects not just resource adequacy, but also life expectancy and general wellbeing. Unfortunately, we also know that resource shortage and life quality disproportionately affects minority and disadvantaged groups with more intensity- like the poor, elderly, children, and women. Attempt to control the population explosion are directly related to attempts to control fertility. Though fertility rates in Pakistan have shown decline, the pace of decline has remained slow. Rates stand at 4.1 births per woman; with the target of 2 births per woman not seeming likely in the near future (National Institute of Population Studies). There is also concern about the discrepancy between rural and urban fertility rates, with need for more concentrated efforts in rural regions of the country. Since the 1950’s different Pakistani governments have targeted family planning as the central intervention to control fertility. The main outreach program has included door-to-door services by the Lady Health Worker Programme in efforts to promote the use of family planning and contraception. In addition, The Ministry of Population Welfare has been promoting the ideal family as a two-child family. Despite these efforts, the projected population growth rate for Pakistan is 2.4%. In fact, married women still consider their ideal family size to be 4 or more children (Hardy & Leahey; 2008). Why is this so? No doubt, in low-income countries like Pakistan more children and sons per family translate to more earning potential and intergenerational financial transfer. But, it is also true that women in the country still prefer to have bigger families, hoping to bear sons, due to factors of family honor, social status,