THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Population Growth and Development Prospects for Pakistan
Since its founding Pakistan has exhibited a continuously high rate of population growth. When measured by population size it has moved from the thirteenth largest country in 1950 to the seventh largest country in 1996 (Table 1). Today Pakistan exhibits the highest rate of growth among the world’s largest countries, and according to some projections will become the third most populated country in the world by the year 2050 [United Nations (1998)]. Given the country’s present resources, this magnitude of population growth has serious implications for the social and economic well-being of the people of Pakistan. A staggering statistic shows that the area now constituting Pakistan which had only 16.6 million people at the turn of the century, will surpass the 150 million mark by the new millennium (less than a year away). Among the projected top ten contributors to world population growth during 1995-2000, Pakistan ranks third in absolute numbers (Table 2), and number one in rate of growth. Based on the population of 1996 (Table 1) and the projected absolute population increase (Table 2), the population of Pakistan is projected absolute population increase (Table 2), the population of Pakistan is projected to grow at a rate more than 300 percent faster than China and 170 percent faster than India. In absolute and relative terms Pakistan’s population growth is unusually high.