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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Population council
Title Demographic dividend in Pakistan
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.popcouncil.org/uploads/pdfs/2013_CapturingDemoDivPak.pdf
Abstract
Pakistan is facing manifold challenges. In addition to a fragile economy, the country has
experienced frequent disasters both natural and human-made. Between 2005 and 2012,
for instance, the country underwent the devastating 2005 earthquake, the 2008 internally
displaced persons (IDP) crisis which continues up to now, the floods of 2010 which affected
more than 20 million people and caused about US$10 billion in damages, and the
2011 floods affecting some 8 million people. As a result of both weak economic growth
and the impact of disasters, and compounded by challenges of governance and low levels
of investment in the social sectors, Pakistan has not made much headway toward achieving
the UN Millennium Development Goals.1
These challenges have been exacerbated by continued rapid growth of the population
currently at around 2.1 percent per annum.2
The size of Pakistan’s population, which was
33 million at the time of partition and independence in 1947, has increased fivefold since
then, reaching 180 million currently, making Pakistan the sixth most populous country
in the world. High population growth is compounded by continued, although declining,
high levels of fertility. In terms of fertility decline in the Asia-Pacific region, Pakistan is
lagging behind all countries except Afghanistan and Timor Leste. The total fertility rate
Chapter ONE
Overview:
The Population
of Pakistan Today
RABBI ROYAN and ZEBA A. SATHAR
3
CAPTURING THE DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND IN PAKISTAN
4
(TFR) in Pakistan, has declined slowly in recent decades to 4.1 births per woman in the
2006–07 PDHS survey (PDHS 2006–07),3
with significant differentials among income
groups. According to the same survey, the TFR of the lowest wealth quintile was 5.8
births, while that of the richest was 3.0: a difference of 2.8 births. Women in the youngest
reproductive age group of 15–19 had a fertility rate of 51 births per 1,000 women,
illustrating that early marriage and childbearing persist. In fact, about 50 percent of girls
marry before their 20th birthday.
There is therefore growing concern within and outside the country that a central
development challenge for Pakistan is how it addresses the rapid growth of population,
which if left unchecked could exert a drag on economic growth and delay the onset of
the demographic dividend.4
There are concerns too that although Pakistan is on the cusp
of benefiting from the dividend given changes in age structure, the dividend may be lost
because of failure to tackle population growth.

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