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June 4, 2016

At last, population rate is slowing down


June 4, 2016


Once out of control, Pakistan’s population rate is finally slowing down. At the start of this decade, 2010 to be exact, the country’s population grew by 2.05 per cent annually but the percentage declined to 1.97 in 2013, 1.95 in 2014 and 1.92 in 2015.

And now, as the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16 shows, the population growth rate has further come down to 1.89 per cent.

The population growth rate is often referred to the change in population over a given period of time with a positive growth rate suggesting increase in population and the negative decline in population.

The government has attributed this slowdown in population growth to better health facilities, including reproductive health’s, like family welfare centres, reproductive health service centres, regional training institutes and mobile service units, as well as promotion of education among women strongly feeling female education has a significant effect on fertility.

“Women having higher education have a fewer children compared to women with less education,” said the ESP 2015-16 report seen by ‘The News’.

The ESP however said the population rate is higher than those of neighbouring countries like India, Iran and Bangladesh with high fertility rate being the major cause.

It said though the country’s international commitments on population issues were not easy to meet, constant and aggressive efforts by the federal, provincial and district governments as well as by the private sector, NGOs and civil society could lead to their accomplishment.

According to the ESP, the country’s population, which was 188.02 million in 2014, has gone up to 195.4 million with most of the people living in villages i.e. 116.52 million.

The urban population totals 77.93 million.

Encouragingly, the country’s total fertility rate, the average number of children expected to be born to a woman, is on the decline.

Stagnant at 3.2 in 2014 and 2015, the TFR came down to 3.1 in 2016 and thus, slowing down population growth.

A steady decline has also been seen in the crude birth and crude death rates, which are used to measure the growth and decline of population over the years.

The CBR (per 1,000 population) was recorded 26.4 in 2014 but it dropped to 26.1 in 2015 and 25.6 in 2016, while the CDR (per 1,000 population) was 6.9 in 2014, which came down to 6.8 in 2015 and then to 6.7 next year.

As for life expectancy, an indicator used to measure quantity rather than quality of life, the average life for both men and women has steadily improved in the recent years.

The average life expectancy rate (men) has increased from 64.9 years in 2014 to 65.2 in 2015 and reached 65.5 years.

Likewise, the life expectancy rate (women) has also gone up from 66.9 years in 2014, 67.3 years in 2015 and 67.7 years in 2016.

There is also a decline in the maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR), which demonstrate a country’s health and development status.

The MMR (per 100,000 population) was recorded 190 in 2013 but it improved to 184 in 2014 before reaching 178 in 2015, whereas the IMR (per 100,000 population), which was 69 in 2013 and 67 in 2014, came down to 66 in 2015.

All that happened due to improved health care system, including establishment of basic health units and rural health centers, and provision of free reproductive healthcare services, and the increased proportion of births attended by skilled birth attendants.

The ESP however said the decline in child mortality rate was slower than the neighbouring countries' and therefore, extra efforts were needed to reduce infants and children’s deaths. 

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