ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Studies show that poverty is among the leading causes of overpopulation. In Pakistan, the poverty rate is approximately 39 percent, having increased by almost 60 percent since the 1998 census. These top 10 facts about overpopulation in Pakistan clarify its dangerous effects.
Top 10 Facts about Overpopulation in Pakistan
- The population is large, but the country is small: The population of Pakistan is the fifth highest in the world, but it only makes up 0.59 percent of the Earth’s surface. Compared to other countries with high populations, Pakistan takes up the smallest amount of space. This means that Pakistan is dealing with more consequences than other highly-populated nations because of its lack of space.
- The population may double in 30 years: The United Nations reported that Pakistan’s population will rise to 400 million by 2050, doubling its current amount. Even now, overpopulation in Pakistan is a major issue, so the negative consequences of a large population will significantly worsen with the anticipated population increase.
- The birthrate and death rate are significantly different: The high birthrate and low death rate both contribute to Pakistan’s overpopulation problem. At 27.7 births per 1,000 people, the birthrate in Pakistan is one of the highest in the world outside of Africa. By comparison, Pakistan’s death rate is 7.228 per 1,000. This vast difference between the number of people being born and those dying has led to a steadily increasing population.
- There are more children than adults: As a result of the high birthrate, 60 percent of Pakistan’s population is still under the age of 30. This has dangerous consequences because more resources are required to raise more children. With nearly 39 percent of families living in poverty, it can be difficult to provide for so many children.
- Education suffers when there are too many students: Education is an important step in reducing poverty. The Balochistan Education Sector Plan was put in place by the Global Partnership for Education in 2013 to address the problem of the quality of education. The group was able to focus on reducing dropouts by developing learning standards, making a new language policy that would facilitate healthier learning and investing in teachers. The number of students enrolled in primary school increased by about 100,000 in one year thanks to a combined effort in school reform.
- Family planning is taboo: Pakistan’s national religion is Islam; therefore, some citizens believe that it is wrong to participate in family planning strategies. Married women are expected to have as many children as possible during child-bearing age. As a result, 70 percent of them use no birth control method whatsoever. This is a contributing factor to the growing population in Pakistan. In 2012, Pakistan made a commitment to the Family Planning 2020 program to increase fertility management and education.
- Pakistan takes in a high number of refugees: Pakistan’s Indian refugee population alone is around two million. This is among the highest of all countries’ refugee populations. Even still, the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, supported granting citizenship to at least 1.5 million Afghan and Bengali refugees despite the extreme costs.
- Overpopulation can lead to food insecurity: Approximately 60 percent of Pakistanis already live with food insecurity. If the population continues to increase, families will resort to using agricultural lands for settlement as the urban areas become more crowded. This will decrease agricultural production, making resources even more scarce and expensive. As a result of existing food insecurity, there is already an issue with malnutrition and stunting. In 2018, the World Food Program intervened in the cities Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan to give out food from a specialized nutrition program targeting children and pregnant women. This aided in the effort to prevent stunting in children under five years old. Overall, the population’s nutrition has improved and is on track to meet goals of reducing stunting by 40 percent and wasting to less than 5 percent by 2025.
- Overpopulation puts pressure on the water supply: Pakistan’s water supply is becoming scarce due to the increase in the population. The supply should hold steady at 191 million acre-feet by 2025; however, the demand will increase to 274 million acre-feet. This means that the people of Pakistan will be approximately 83 million-acre feet short of an important, life-giving resource. Pakistan’s Karachi Water Partnership, a group of 200 activists, has reached out to thousands of children in 25 Pakistani schools to raise awareness on saving water. The group was able to repair pipes and resolve hygiene issues in the schools within 15 months.
- The government has not made a plan of action: Pakistan’s government has discussed the possibility of decreasing the population growth rate from 2.1 percent as of 2018 to 1.5 percent by 2025, but no official plans have been established. The Supreme Court of Pakistan even proposed a two-child limit on families, but the idea was met with strong opposition from the conservative Muslim majority.
Policy changes are necessary in order to affect change in Pakistan’s population growth. Understanding these 10 facts about overpopulation in Pakistan is an important step in recognizing the severity of this issue and how it will affect our next generation’s world.
– Katherine Desrosiers