Pakistan will become fourth largest nation on earth in population terms by 2050, says Economic Survey 2009-10.
With a median age of around 20 years, Pakistan is also a ‘young’ country. It is estimated that currently there are approximately 104 million Pakistanis below 30 years. The proportion of population residing in urban centres has risen to 36 per cent. Since 1950, it is estimated that Pakistan’s urban population has expanded over seven fold.
Despite a gradual decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), currently close to 4, Pakistan has been a laggard in achieving a breakthrough on this front.
The level of fertility in Pakistan remained constant at 6.8 children per woman from 1961 through 1987, population grew as life expectancy increased and fertility rate remained constant.
Growth rate of population declined during 1990-2000 because fertility rate declined rapidly during this period and life expectancy stagnated. Fertility rate began by declining rapidly in the decade of 1991-2000, falling from 6.3 to 4.8 children. The fertility decline started around 1988 with a reduction of approximately 2 children per woman in each decade through 2000 and later years, the subsequent decade 2000-2009 has seen a slowing of the fertility transition with a fall from 4.8 to about 4.0.
The draft population policy 2009-10 envisages to reduce fertility level from 3.56 (2009) to 3.1 births per woman by the year 2015. To achieve this contraceptive prevalence rate has to increase from 30 to 60 per cent by 2030. Lately the rise in CPR was from 12 to 28 from 1991 to 1997- 98, an average of 2 per cent a year, the rise from 1998 until 2004 is 28-33, less than one per cent a year.
Pakistan is also experiencing a dwindling dependency ratio.
Reduced dependency ratios mean that the proportion of the population in working ages (15-64) continues to increase while those in the younger ages (0-14) decrease.
The proportion of the elderly in the total population is projected to show a substantial increase after 2025. The decline in dependency ratio can affect per capita output through several intermediate channels. First, the number of producers surpasses the consumers secondly savings increase, which can make capital more available and thus relatively cheaper. It facilitates increased savings and investment at both micro and macro levels.
At the micro level, parents with fewer dependent children can more readily afford productive investments, and at the macro level resources otherwise needed to support an increasing population can be put to directly productive investments.
Taking five-year period of 2010-15 and 2025-30, it is predicted by the United Nations that life expectancy in Pakistan would increase from 68 to 71.9. The population growth rate would decrease to 1.52 and total fertility rate to 2.70. The Crude Birth Rate (CBR), crude death rate (CDR) and infant mortality rate (IMR) are projected under this scenario to decline to 21.4, 5.6 and 42.2 respectively. The News