Demographics of Pakistan

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Demographics of Pakistan
Population Pyramid of Pakistan - 2017 Census.png
Population pyramid of Pakistan as of the 2017 census
PopulationIncrease 207,684,626 (2017)[1]
Increase 213,222,917 (2017) (including AJK and GB)[1][2][3]
Density260.8/km2 (675/sq mi)
248.9/km2 (645/sq mi) (including AJK and GB)
Growth rateDecrease 1.95% (2022 est.)[4]
Birth rate26.48 births / 1,000 population (2022 est.)[4]
Death rate6.02 deaths / 1,000 population (2022 est.)[4]
Life expectancy69.67 years (2022 est.)[4]
 • male67.62 years (2022 est.)[4]
 • female71.82 years (2022 est.)[4]
Fertility rate3.46 children born / woman (2022 est.)[4]
Net migration rate-0.96 migrants / 1,000 population (2022 est.)[4]
Age structure
0–14 years40.3% (2017)[5]
15–64 years56.0% (2017)[5]
65 and over3.7% (2017)[5]
Nationality
Nationalitynoun: Pakistani
Major ethnicSee Ethnic groups of Pakistan
Language
SpokenSee Languages of Pakistan
Historical population of Pakistan

Pakistan had a population of 213,222,917 according to the final results of the 2017 Census of Pakistan.[1][2][3] This figure includes Pakistan's four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan is the world's fifth-most populated country.[6]

Between 1951 and 2017, Pakistan's population expanded over sixfold, going from 33.7 million to 207.7 million. The country has a relatively high, although declining, growth rate supported by high birth rates and low death rates. Between 1998 and 2017, the average annual population growth rate stood at +2.40%.

Dramatic social changes have led to urbanisation and the emergence of two megacities: Karachi and Lahore. The country's urban population more than tripled between 1981 and 2017 (from 23.8 million to 75.7 million, as Pakistan's urbanization rate rose from 28.2% to 36.4%. Even with this, the nation's urbanization rate remains one of the lowest in the world, and in 2017, over 130 million Pakistanis (making up nearly 65% of the population) lived in rural areas.

Due to a high fertility rate, estimated at 3.5 in 2022, Pakistan has one of the world's youngest populations. The 2017 census recorded that 40.3% of the country's population was under the age of 15, while only 3.7% of Pakistanis were aged 65 or more.[5] The median age of the country was 19.[5]

The demographic history of Pakistan from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization to the modern era includes the arrival and settlement of many cultures and ethnic groups in the modern region of Pakistan from Eurasia and the nearby Middle East. Because of this, Pakistan has a multicultural, multilinguistic, and multiethnic society. Despite Urdu being Pakistan's lingua franca, estimates on how many languages are spoken in the country range from 75 to 85,[7][8] and in 2017, the country's three largest ethnolinguistic groups were the Punjabis (making up 38.8% of the total population), the Pashtuns (18.2%), and the Sindhis (14.6%).[9] Pakistan is also thought to have the world's fourth-largest refugee population, estimated at 1.4 million in mid-2021 by the UNHCR.[10]

Population[edit]

Historical Population of Pakistan (four provinces and Islamabad)
YearPop.±% p.a.
1951 33,740,167—    
1961 42,880,378+2.43%
1972 65,309,340+3.90%
1981 84,253,644+2.87%
1998 132,352,279+2.69%
2017 207,684,626+2.40%
Source: [11][1]

The 2017 census recorded a population of 207,684,626 living in Pakistan's four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory.[1] The census also reported that Azad Kashmir's population stood at 4,045,367[2] and Gilgit-Baltistan's population was 1,492,924.[3] This meant that the total population of Pakistan in 2017 was 213,222,917.

The statistics in the graphs below were created by the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS). They are projected from the results of the 1998 census, and do not take into account the more recent data from the 2017 census.[12] The data also does not contain Azad Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan, the status of which are yet to be determined according to the government of Pakistan.

Population Density per square kilometre of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census
Population of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Estimates from the United Nations[edit]

In June 2019, the United Nations published its 2019 World Population Prospects, a biennially-updated database where key demographic indicators are estimated and projected worldwide down to the country level. They prepared the following estimates of Pakistan's population from 1950 to 2020, as well as projections for future decades.[13]

Projections are highlighted in light yellow, and future figures are taken from the medium fertility variant.

The following figures do not take into account the age distribution recorded in the 2017 census, which was considerably younger than the UN's estimates. This is because the final age distribution recorded in 2017 was released in 2021, two years after these estimates were prepared.

Year Population % Population
aged 0 to 14
% Population
aged 15 to 64
% Population
aged 65 or more
1950 37,542,370 40.3% 54.1% 5.6%
1955 40,488,032 39.4% 55.7% 4.9%
1960 44,988,690 39.3% 56.4% 4.3%
1965 50,917,975 40.5% 55.6% 3.9%
1970 58,142,062 42.3% 53.9% 3.8%
1975 66,816,875 43.0% 53.2% 3.8%
1980 78,054,346 42.9% 53.3% 3.8%
1985 92,191,505 42.6% 53.6% 3.9%
1990 107,647,918 43.0% 53.1% 3.9%
1995 123,776,835 43.2% 52.9% 4.0%
2000 142,343,583 42.0% 54.0% 4.0%
2005 160,304,007 40.0% 55.9% 4.1%
2010 179,424,643 37.7% 58.1% 4.2%
2015 199,426,953 35.9% 59.8% 4.3%
2020 220,892,331 34.8% 60.8% 4.3%
2025 242,234,059 33.5% 61.8% 4.7%
2030 262,958,797 31.8% 62.9% 5.2%
2035 282,863,440 29.8% 64.5% 5.8%
2040 302,129,186 28.0% 65.7% 6.3%
2045 320,723,649 26.7% 66.3% 7.0%
2050 338,013,194 25.6% 66.6% 7.9%

Structure of population[edit]

Median Age of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

The table below shows Pakistan's population structure by five-year age group and sex using data from the 2017 census.[5] The country's population structure is relatively young, with a median age of 19. With low death rates and a declining birth rate, the country is in the third stage of its Demographic transition. In 2017, Pakistan's sex ratio stood at 105 males per 100 females,[1] which is much more balanced than South Asia as a whole.

The statistics below do not contain Azad Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan, which disseminate their census data separately from Pakistan's four provinces and Islamabad.

Age Group Male Female Total Sex ratio Percent
Total 106,318,22 101,344,632 207,684,626 104.9 100.0%
0 - 4 14,944,124 14,218,866 29,162,990 105.1 14.0%
5 - 9 15,642,725 14,383,593 30,026,318 108.8 14.5%
10 - 14 12,946,871 11,580,317 24,527,188 111.8 11.8%
15 - 19 11,095,138 10,269,213 21,366,618 108.0 10.3%
20 - 24 9,245,010 9,247,936 18,495,895 100.0 8.9%
25 - 29 7,936,382 8,461,628 16,401,132 93.8 7.9%
30 - 34 6,945,532 7,203,496 14,151,748 96.4 6.8%
35 - 39 6,088,144 5,958,164 12,048,811 102.2 5.8%
40 - 44 4,847,522 4,777,667 9,627,067 101.5 4.6%
45 - 49 4,060,698 3,869,277 7,931,616 104.9 3.8%
50 - 54 3,643,706 3,300,645 6,945,580 110.4 3.3%
55 - 59 2,647,127 2,326,991 4,974,986 113.8 2.4%
60 - 64 2,247,341 2,063,695 4,311,861 108.9 2.1%
65 - 69 1,557,733 1,393,718 2,952,013 111.8 1.4%
70 - 74 1,131,916 1,001,805 2,134,220 113.0 1.0%
75 or more 1,338,251 1,287,621 2,626,523 103.9 1.26%
Age Group Male Female Total Sex ratio Percent
0 - 14 43 533 720 40 182 776 83 716 496 108.3 40.31
15 - 64 58 778 374 57 478 712 116 257 086 102.3 55.98
65+ 4 027 900 3 683 144 7 711 044 109.4 3.71

Population distribution[edit]

Pakistan's population is distributed unevenly, with over half of the country's people living in the Punjab province. On the other hand, Balochistan, which is geographically Pakistan's largest province, is its least-populated. The population is mainly clustered around the most agriculturally fertile areas, particularly the Indus River and its tributaries. Most of the country's people live in rural areas, but two large and growing megacities exist: the coastal Karachi and Lahore in eastern Punjab. Numerous smaller cities (such as Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and the capital Islamabad) dot the rest of the country.

By province[edit]

The table below shows Pakistan's provinces and territories by their historical population. While every one of Pakistan's administrative units currently has a growing population, the pace of growth is uneven throughout the country due to differing levels of fertility, mortality, as well as domestic and international migration. Populations pertaining to the modern borders of provinces are shown.

Province or Territory 1951[11] 1961[11] 1972[11] 1981[11] 1998[11] 2017[1]
 Punjab 20,540,762 25,463,974 37,607,423 47,292,441 73,691,290 109,989,655
 Sindh 6,047,748 8,367,065 14,155,909 19,028,666 30,439,893 47,854,510
 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 5,888,550 7,578,186 10,879,781 13,259,875 20,919,976 35,501,964
 Balochistan 1,167,167 1,353,484 2,428,678 4,332,376 6,565,885 12,335,129
 ICT 95,940 117,669 237,549 340,286 805,235 2,003,368
Four Provinces and ICT 33,740,167 42,880,378 65,309,340 84,253,644 132,352,279 207,684,626
 Azad Kashmir[2] 886,000 1,065,000 1,573,000 1,983,465 2,972,501 4,045,367
 Gilgit-Baltistan[3] 884,000 1,492,924
Total Pakistan 136,208,780 213,222,917

Urbanization[edit]

The following table shows how Pakistan has urbanized. As is true with population growth, urbanization is an uneven and nonlinear process. With an urbanization rate of 51.9% as of 2017, Sindh is the country's most urbanized province, and is even more urban than Islamabad Capital Territory. This is largely fueled by the growth of Karachi, which economically dominates the province and attracts migrants from the rest of the country. On the other hand, the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan both share very low urbanization rates of 16.5%.

Province or Territory 1951[11] 1961[11] 1972[11] 1981[11] 1998[11] 2017[1]
 Punjab 17.3% 21.5% 24.4% 27.6% 31.3% 36.9%
 Sindh 29.2% 37.9% 40.4% 43.3% 48.8% 51.9%
 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 8.6% 10.3% 11.1% 12.6% 14.3% 16.5%
 Balochistan 12.4% 16.9% 16.5% 15.6% 23.9% 27.6%
 ICT 0.0% 0.0% 32.3% 60.1% 65.7% 50.4%
Four Provinces and ICT 17.7% 22.5% 25.4% 28.3% 32.5% 36.4%
 Azad Kashmir[2] 8.1% 12.5% 17.4%
 Gilgit-Baltistan[3] 16.8% 16.5%
 ICT 0.0% 0.0% 32.3% 60.1% 65.7% 50.4%

Largest cities[edit]

As urbanization has progressed and owing to the country's large population, Pakistan today has many very large urban centers which act as hubs for commerce and culture. The nation has two megacities, Karachi and Lahore. With populations of 14.9 million and 11.1 million respectively (in 2017), they are among the world's largest metropolises. The country also has seven more cities with more than 1 million residents each: Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Multan, Hyderabad, and Islamabad. All of them play a significant role in the country, housing nearly 14 million people altogether. Aside from these, there are 103 more cities in the country with populations of at least 100,000.

Below a list showing Pakistan's twenty largest cities as of the 2017 census can be found, which not only shows the current populations of the cities, but also their growth rates and locations. The full list can be found on the main article: List of cities in Pakistan by population.

All city population figures below include adjacent cantonments.

City Name Province or Territory 2017 Population[14] 1998 Population[11] Avg. Annual Growth Rate
Karachi  Sindh 14,884,402 9,339,023 Increase 2.48%
Lahore  Punjab 11,119,985 5,209,088 Increase 4.06%
Faisalabad  Punjab 3,210,158 2,008,861 Increase 2.49%
Rawalpindi  Punjab 2,097,824 1,409,768 Increase 2.11%
Gujranwala  Punjab 2,028,421 1,132,509 Increase 3.11%
Peshawar  KPK 1,969,823 982,816 Increase 3.72%
Multan  Punjab 1,872,641 1,197,384 Increase 2.38%
Hyderabad  Sindh 1,733,622 1,166,894 Increase 2.10%
Islamabad  ICT 1,009,003 529,180 Increase 3.45%
Quetta  Balochistan 999,385 565,137 Increase 3.04%
Bahawalpur  Punjab 762,774 408,395 Increase 3.34%
Sargodha  Punjab 658,208 458,440 Increase 1.92%
Sialkot  Punjab 656,730 421,502 Increase 2.36%
Sukkur  Sindh 500,401 335,551 Increase 2.12%
Larkana  Sindh 488,006 270,283 Increase 3.15%
Sheikhupura  Punjab 472,269 280,263 Increase 2.79%
Rahim Yar Khan  Punjab 420,963 233,537 Increase 3.14%
Jhang  Punjab 414,309 293,366 Increase 1.83%
Dera Ghazi Khan  Punjab 397,362 190,542 Increase 3.94%
Gujrat  Punjab 390,758 251,792 Increase 2.34%

Vital statistics[edit]

As Pakistan lacks a national vital statistics system that publicly disseminates data, all of the following information is made from estimates, which are constantly being revised. The United Nations estimated that in February 2021, only 42% of births in Pakistan were officially registered, making it the world's most populous country where more than half of births remained unregistered.[15] The United Nations was unable to estimate how many deaths were officially registered.[15]

Estimates based on surveys[edit]

Surveys taken by the Pakistani government or intergovernmental organizations are seen as the most reliable method of keeping tabs on birth, death, fertility, and infant mortality rates in a country without a reliable vital registration system. The data recorded in these surveys is used by the United Nations in order to estimate historical and future fertility and mortality figures for Pakistan in the World Population Prospects.[16]

Survey Crude birth rate Crude death rate Infant mortality rate Total fertility rate Life expectancy
Urban Rural Total Male Female
DHS 2006-07[17] 30.7 78 3.30 4.49 4.08
PSLM 2007-08[18] 69 3.13 4.41 3.95
PSLM 2011-12[19] 63 3.26 4.35 3.95
DHS 2012-13[20] 74 3.16 4.20 3.84
PSLM 2013-14[21] 65 3.24 4.35 3.95
DHS 2017-18[22] 29 62 2.93 3.94 3.56
PSLM 2018-19[23] 60 3.01 4.21 3.75
PMMS 2019[24] 64.3 66.5
PDS 2020[25] 27 6.7 56 3.07 4.11 3.72 64.5 65.5

Estimates from the United Nations[edit]

In June 2019, the United Nations published its 2019 World Population Prospects, a biennially-updated database where key demographic indicators are estimated and projected worldwide down to the country level. They prepared the following estimates of vital statistics in Pakistan from 1950 to 2020, as well as projections for future decades.[13]

Projections are highlighted in light yellow, and future figures are taken from the medium fertility variant.

Period Annual
live births
Annual
deaths
Annual
natural
increase
CBR CDR RNC IMR TFR Life expectancy
Male Female
1950 - 1955 1,646,881 1,056,100 590,781 42.2 27.1 15.1 250 6.60 37.19 37.75
1955 - 1960 1,867,452 963,980 903,471 43.7 22.6 21.1 204 6.60 42.72 43.04
1960 - 1965 2,119,710 915,199 1,204,511 44.2 19.1 25.1 172 6.60 47.36 47.60
1965 - 1970 2,380,600 893,787 1,486,813 43.7 16.4 27.3 150 6.60 51.07 51.20
1970 - 1975 2,664,022 901,437 1,762,585 42.6 14.4 28.2 137 6.60 53.94 53.98
1975 - 1980 3,068,876 955,824 2,113,053 42.4 13.2 29.2 127 6.60 55.71 56.30
1980 - 1985 3,588,665 1,038,656 2,550,009 42.2 12.2 30.0 119 6.44 57.25 58.29
1985 - 1990 4,193,266 1,129,942 3,063,324 42.0 11.3 30.7 110 6.30 58.72 60.09
1990 - 1995 4,626,046 1,195,585 3,430,462 40.0 10.3 29.6 101 5.96 60.19 61.56
1995 - 2000 4,861,607 1,242,441 3,619,166 36.5 9.3 27.2 92 5.37 61.44 62.97
2000 - 2005 5,001,248 1,279,126 3,722,123 33.1 8.5 24.6 83 4.71 62.63 64.35
2005 - 2010 5,232,451 1,340,364 3,892,087 30.8 7.9 22.9 76 4.17 63.62 65.45
2010 - 2015 5,596,681 1,380,384 4,216,297 29.5 7.3 22.3 68 3.78 65.13 66.99
2015 - 2020 5,994,075 1,467,621 4,526,454 28.5 7.0 21.5 61 3.55 66.11 68.00
2020 - 2025 6,030,382 1,559,746 4,470,636 26.0 6.7 19.3 56 3.24 66.77 68.90
2025 - 2030 5,991,829 1,670,818 4,321,010 23.7 6.6 17.1 50 2.99 67.37 69.75
2030 - 2035 5,957,195 1,809,973 4,147,221 21.8 6.6 15.2 45 2.79 67.95 70.57
2035 - 2040 6,006,577 1,987,134 4,019,444 20.5 6.8 13.7 41 2.62 68.48 71.36
2040 - 2045 6,082,789 2,197,988 3,884,801 19.5 7.1 12.5 37 2.49 69.01 72.11
2045 - 2050 6,052,050 2,428,765 3,623,285 18.4 7.4 11.0 33 2.37 69.52 72.84

Vital statistics[edit]

Year (1 July)[26][27] Population Live births (in thousands) Deaths (in thousands) Natural change (in thousands) Crude birth rate (per 1,000) Crude death rate (per 1,000) Natural change (per 1,000) Fertility rates
2009 173,500,000 4,820 1,290 3,530 27.5 7.3 20.2 3.5
2010 177,100,000 4,820 1,290 3,530 27.5 7.3 20.2 3.5
2011 180,710,000 4,915 1,301 3,614 27.2 7.2 20.0 3.4
2012 184,350,000 4,941 1,291 3,650 26.8 7.0 19.8 3.3
2013 188,020,000 4,964 1,297 3,667 26.4 6.9 19.5 3.2
2014 191,710,000 5,003 1,303 3,700 26.1 6.8 19.3 3.2
2015 195,400,000 5,002 1,309 3,693 25.6 6.7 18.9 3.1
2016 198,780,000 5,033 1,318 3,715 27.8 7.0 20.8 3.0
2017 202,930,000 27.3 6.9 20.4
2018 207,060,000 26.7 6.8 19.9
2019 211,170,000 26.1 6.7 19.4
2020 215,250,000 25.4 6.6 18.8

Fertility rate (Demographic and Health Surveys)[edit]

CBR (Crude Birth Rate), Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and Wanted Fertility Rate (WFR):[28]

Year CBR (Total) CBR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Total) TFR (Urban) TFR (Rural) WFR (Total) WFR (Urban) WFR (Rural)
1990–1991 5.4 4.9 5.6 4.7 3.8 5.1
2006–2007 30.7 27.6 32.3 4.1 3.3 4.5 3.1 2.5 3.4
2012–2013 3.8 3.2 4.2 2.9 2.4 3.1
2017–2018 29 26 31 3.6 2.9 3.9 2.9 2.4 3.2

Fertility (wanted fertility) by region 2017–18[edit]

Region[28] Fertility rate
Urban 2.9 (2.4)
Rural 3.9 (3.2)
Overall 3.6 (2.9)
ICT Islamabad 3.0 (2.2)
Punjab 3.4 (2.8)
Sindh 3.6 (3.0)
Azad Kashmir 3.5 (2.7)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 4.0 (3.2)
Balochistan 4.0 (3.1)
Gilgit-Baltistan 4.7 (3.7)
FATA 4.8

Population Pyramids[edit]

Population Pyramids of each Pakistani province and nationwide as of the 2017 Pakistan Census.

Nationwide Population Pyramid

Contraceptives usage (%) 2017–2018[edit]

Region[28] Contraceptives usage (%)
Urban 42.5%
Rural 29.4%
Overall 34.2%
ICT Islamabad 45.7%
Gilgit-Baltistan 39%
Punjab 38.3%
Sindh 30.9%
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 30.9%
Azad Kashmir 27.6%
FATA 21.8%
Balochistan 19.8%

Mortality and life expectancy[edit]

Development of life expectancy in Pakistan
  • Maternal mortality ratio: 320 (2009 est.)[29]
  • Life expectancy at birth:
Period Life expectancy in
Years
Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 37.0 1985–1990 59.3
1955–1960 42.7 1990–1995 60.8
1960–1965 47.5 1995–2000 62.1
1965–1970 51.3 2000–2005 63.3
1970–1975 54.1 2005–2010 64.4
1975–1980 56.1 2010–2015 65.9
1980–1985 57.8

Source: UN World Population Prospects[30]

Life expectancy in Pakistan by administrative unit[edit]

Unit[31] 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2012 2015 2018
Azad Kashmir 55.86 58.50 Increase 61.03 Increase 63.25 Increase 65.72 Increase 66.80 Increase 66.74 Decrease 66.33 Decrease
Balochistan 63.93 65.42 Increase 66.82 Increase 68.02 Increase 66.07 Decrease 64.41 Decrease 65.82 Increase 67.01 Increase
FATA 68.65 70.26 Increase 71.76 Increase 73.05 Increase 74.38 Increase 74.92 Increase 74.04 Decrease 73.00 Decrease
Gilgit-Baltistan 61.14 62.57 Increase 63.91 Increase 65.06 Increase 66.24 Increase 66.73 Increase 65.94 Decrease 65.01 Decrease
Islamabad (ICT) 62.62 64.09 Increase 65.46 Increase 66.63 Increase 70.38 Increase 72.61 Increase 71.77 Decrease 70.77 Decrease
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 62.12 63.57 Increase 64.93 Increase 66.10 Increase 68.05 Increase 69.06 Increase 69.01 Decrease 68.79 Decrease
Punjab 59.27 60.65 Increase 61.95 Increase 63.06 Increase 64.41 Increase 65.02 Increase 65.75 Increase 66.29 Increase
Sindh 59.26 60.65 Increase 61.94 Increase 63.06 Increase 65.18 Increase 66.31 Increase 66.86 Increase 67.22 Increase
Pakistan 60.10 61.51 Increase 62.82 Increase 63.95 Increase 65.26 Increase 65.85 Increase 66.58 Increase 67.11 Increase

As adultery is a crime punishable by death in Pakistan, just in the main cities 1,210 infants were killed or abandoned to die (2010), 90% of them girls and most less than a week old according to conservative estimates by the Edhi Foundation, a charity working to reverse this increasing trend.[32]


Human development[edit]

Human Development Index[edit]

Pakistan's Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2018 is in the medium human development category with a score of 0.560 (152nd rank out of 189 countries and territories) compared to 0.614 (135th rank) for Bangladesh and 0.647 (129th rank) for India. From 1990 to 2018, Pakistan's HDI increased 38.6% from 0.404 to 0.560.[33][34]

2018 Information on Pakistani provinces/regions, compared to other countries, estimated at three decimal places is provided below:[35]

Rank Region HDI (2018)[35] Comparable countries[36]
Medium human development
1 Islamabad Capital Territory 0.678 Decrease  Morocco
2 Azad Jammu & Kashmir 0.611 Decrease  São Tomé and Príncipe
3 Gilgit-Baltistan 0.593 Increase  Zambia
4 Punjab 0.567 Increase  Cameroon/ Zimbabwe
 Pakistan (average) 0.561 Increase  Cameroon/ Zimbabwe
Low human development
5 Sindh 0.533 Decrease  Nigeria
6 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.529 Decrease  Tanzania/ Uganda
7 Balochistan 0.477 Increase  Ethiopia
8 FATA 0.466 Decrease  Gambia/ Guinea

Literacy[edit]

definition: aged 10 and over with the "Ability to read and understand simple text in any language from a newspaper or magazine, write a simple letter and perform basic mathematical calculation (ie, counting and addition/subtraction)." as of 2018[37]

  • Total population: 62.3%
  • Male: 72.5%
  • Female: 51.8%

Educational institutions by kind[edit]

[39]

Nationality, ethnicity, and language[edit]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Dominant Ethnolinguistic Group in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Ethnic groups in Pakistan (World Factbook)[40]

  Punjabis (44.7%)
  Pashtuns (15.4%)
  Sindhis (14.1%)
  Saraikis (8.4%)
  Muhajirs (7.6%)
  Balochis (3.6%)
  Others (6.3%)

The major ethnolinguistic groups of Pakistan include Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Saraikis, Muhajirs, Balochs, Hindkowans, Pothoharis/Paharis[a] and Brahuis,[41][note 1] with significant numbers of Kashmiris, Chitralis, Shina, Baltis, Kohistanis, Torwalis, Hazaras, Burusho, Wakhis, Kalash, Siddis and other various minorities.[42][43]

Pakistan's census does not include the 1.4 million citizens of Afghanistan who are temporarily residing in Pakistan.[44][45][46] Majority of them were born in Pakistan within the last four decades and are ethnically Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and others.[47]

Foreign-born population in Pakistan[edit]

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, many Muslims from India migrated to Pakistan and they are the largest group of foreign-born residents. This group is dwindling because of its age. The second-largest group of foreign-born residents consists of refugees from Afghanistan who are expected to leave Pakistan by the end of 2018.[48] There are also smaller groups of Muslim immigrants from countries such as Burma, Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, among others.[citation needed]

Mostly those born before 1947
Year Population Foreign born Percentage foreign born
1960 46,259,000 6,350,296 13.73%
1970 59,565,000 5,105,556 8.57%
1980 79,297,000 5,012,524 6.32%
1990 111,698,000 6,555,782 5.87%
2000 142,648,000 4,242,689 2.97%
2005 157,935,000 3,254,112 2.06%

Source:[49]

Languages[edit]

Languages of Pakistan (2017)[50]

  Punjabi (38.78%)
  Pashto (18.24%)
  Sindhi (14.57%)
  Saraiki (12.19%)
  Urdu (7.08%)
  Balochi (3.02%)
  Hindko (2.24%)
  Brahui (1.24%)
  Kashmiri (0.17%)
  Others (2.47%)
Census history of major languages
Rank Language 2017 census 1998 census 1981 census 1961 census 1951 census
1 Punjabi* 38.78% 44.15% 48.17% 56.39% 57.08%
2 Pashto 18.24% 14.42% 13.35% 8.47% 8.16%
3 Sindhi 14.57% 14.1% 12.7% 12.59% 12.85%
4 Saraiki* 12.19% 10.53% 9.54%
5 Urdu 7.08% 7.57% 7.60% 7.57% 7.05%
6 Balochi 3.02% 3.57% 3.02% 2.49% 3.04%
7 Others 3% 4.66% 5.62% 12.49% 11.82%

Pakistan is a multilingual country with dozens of languages spoken as first languages.[51][52] The majority Pakistan's languages belong to the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European language family.[53][54]

Urdu is the national language and the lingua franca of Pakistan, and while sharing official status with English, it is the preferred and dominant language used for inter-communication between different ethnic groups.[51][52] Numerous regional languages are spoken as first languages by Pakistan's various ethnolinguistic groups. Languages with more than a million speakers each include Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Urdu, Balochi, Hindko, Pahari-Pothwari[b] and Brahui.[55]

Ethnologue lists 74 languages in Pakistan. Of these, 66 are indigenous and 8 are non-indigenous. In terms of their vitality, 7 are classified as 'institutional', 17 are 'developing', 37 are 'vigorous', 10 are 'in trouble', and 3 are 'dying'.[56]

Urdu (National language)[edit]

The proportion of people with Urdu as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Urdu (اردو) is the national language (قومی زبان) and lingua franca of Pakistan.[57] Although only about 7% of Pakistanis speak it as their first language, it is widely spoken and understood as a second language by the vast majority of Pakistanis.[58][59]

No region in Pakistan uses Urdu as its mother tongue, though it is spoken as the first language of Muslim migrants (known as Muhajirs) in Pakistan who left India after independence in 1947.[60] Urdu was chosen as a symbol of unity for the new state of Pakistan in 1947, because it had already served as a lingua franca among Muslims in north and northwest British India.[61] It is written, spoken and used in all provinces/territories of Pakistan, and together with English as the main languages of instruction,[62] although the people from differing provinces may have different native languages.[63]

Urdu is taught as a compulsory subject up to higher secondary school in both English and Urdu medium school systems, which has produced millions of second-language Urdu speakers among people whose native language is one of the other languages of Pakistan – which in turn has led to the absorption of vocabulary from various regional Pakistani languages,[64] while some Urdu vocabularies has also been assimilated by Pakistan's regional languages.[65][66]

Punjabi[edit]

The proportion of people with Punjabi as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Punjabi (پنجابی) is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan. It is spoken as a first language by almost 39% of Pakistanis.[67] It is the 11th most widely spoken language in India, and the third most-spoken native language in the Indian Subcontinent. The language is spoken among a significant overseas diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Punjabi is unusual among the Indo-Aryan languages and the broader Indo-European language family in its usage of lexical tone.[68]

Pashto[edit]

The proportion of people with Pashto as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Pashto (پښتو) is an Iranian language spoken as a first language by more than 18% of Pakistanis, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in northern Balochistan as well as in ethnic Pashtun communities in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and most notably Karachi,[69][70][71][72] which may have the largest Pashtun population of any city in the world.[73]

There are three major dialect patterns within which the various individual dialects may be classified; these are Pakhto, which is the Northern (Peshawar) variety, and the softer Pashto spoken in the southern areas such as in Quetta.

Sindhi[edit]

The proportion of people with Sindhi as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Sindhi (سنڌي) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken as a first language by almost 15% of Pakistanis, mostly in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The name "Sindhi" is derived from Sindhu, the original name of the Indus River.[74]

Like other languages of this family, Sindhi has passed through Old Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and Middle Indo-Aryan (Pali, secondary Prakrits, and Apabhramsha) stages of growth. 20th century Western scholars such as George Abraham Grierson believed that Sindhi descended specifically from the Vrācaḍa dialect of Apabhramsha (described by Markandeya as being spoken in Sindhu-deśa) but later work has shown this to be unlikely.[75] It entered the New Indo-Aryan stage around the 10th century CE.[76][77]

Saraiki[edit]

The proportion of people with Saraiki as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Saraiki (سرائیکی) is an Indo-Aryan language of the Lahnda group, spoken in central and southeastern Pakistan, primarily in the southern part of the province of Punjab. Saraiki is to a high degree mutually intelligible with Standard Punjabi[78] and shares with it a large portion of its vocabulary and morphology. At the same time in its phonology it is radically different[79] (particularly in the lack of tones, the preservation of the voiced aspirates and the development of implosive consonants), and has important grammatical features in common with the Sindhi language spoken to the south.[80]

Saraiki is the language of about 26 million people in Pakistan, ranging across southern Punjab, southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and border regions of northern Sindh and eastern Balochistan.[81]

Balochi[edit]

The proportion of people with Balochi as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Balochi (بلوچی) is an Iranian language spoken as a first language by about 3% of Pakistanis, mostly in the Balochistan province. Rakshani is the major dialect group in terms of numbers. Sarhaddi is a sub-dialect of Rakshani. Other sub-dialects are Kalati (Qalati), Chagai-Kharani and Panjguri. Eastern Hill Balochi or Northern Balochi is very different from the rest.

Hindko[edit]

The proportion of people with Hindko as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Hindko (ہندکو) is a cover term for a diverse group of Lahnda dialects spoken in several discontinuous areas in northwestern Pakistan, primarily in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Hindko is mutually intelligible with Punjabi and Saraiki,[82] and has more affinities with the latter than with the former.[83] Differences with other Punjabi varieties are more pronounced in the morphology and phonology than in the syntax.[84] The word Hindko, commonly used to refer to a number of Indo-Aryan dialects spoken in the neighbourhood of Pashto, likely originally meant "the Indian language" (in contrast to Pashto).[85] An alternative local name for this language group is Hindki.[86][c]

Brahui[edit]

The proportion of people with Brahui as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Brahui (براھوی) is a Dravidian language spoken in the central part of Balochistan province. Brahui is spoken in the central part of Pakistani Balochistan, mainly in Kalat, Khuzdar and Mastung districts, but also in smaller numbers in neighboring districts, as well as in Afghanistan which borders Pakistani Balochistan; however, many members of the ethnic group no longer speak Brahui.[87]

Minor languages[edit]

Map showing some of the minor languages in Pakistan as of 1998.

Other languages spoken by linguistic minorities include the languages listed below, with speakers ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands. A few are highly endangered languages that may soon have no speakers at all.[88] The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines five levels of language endangerment between "safe" (not endangered) and "extinct":[89]

  • Vulnerable - "most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home)"
  • Definitely endangered – "children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home"
  • Severely endangered – "language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves"
  • Critically endangered – "the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently"
  • Extinct – "there are no speakers left; included in the Atlas if presumably extinct since the 1950s"

The list below includes the findings from the third edition of Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2010; formerly the Red Book of Endangered Languages), as well as the online edition of the aforementioned publication, both published by UNESCO.[90]

Language Status Comments ISO 639-3
Balti language Vulnerable[89] Also spoken in: India bft
Bashkarik language Definitely endangered[89]   gwc, xka
Badeshi language Critically endangered[89]   bdz
Bateri language Definitely endangered[89]   btv
Bhadravahi language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: India bhd
Brahui language Vulnerable[89] Also spoken in: Afghanistan brh
Burushaski language Vulnerable[89]   bsk
Chilisso language Severely endangered[89]   clh
Dameli language Severely endangered[89]   dml
Domaaki language Severely endangered[89]   dmk
Gawar-Bati language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: Afghanistan gwt
Gowro language Severely endangered[89]   gwf
Jad language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: India jda
Kalasha language Severely endangered[89]  Not to be confused with Kalasha-ala language kls
Kalkoti language Severely endangered[89]    
Kati language

Kamkata-viri language, Kata-vari dialect Kamviri dialect

Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: Afghanistan bsh, xvi
Khowar language Vulnerable[89]   khw
Kundal Shahi language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: India  
Maiya language Vulnerable[89]   mvy
Ormuri language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: Afghanistan oru
Phalura language Definitely endangered[89]   phl
Purik language Vulnerable[89] Also spoken in: India prx
Savi language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: Afghanistan sdg
Spiti language Vulnerable[89] Also spoken in: India spt
Torwali language Definitely endangered[89]   trw
Ushojo language Definitely endangered[89]   ush
Wakhi language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan wbl
Yidgha language Definitely endangered[89]   ydg
Zangskari language Definitely endangered[89] Also spoken in: India zau

Religion[edit]

Religion in Pakistan (2017)[91]

  Sunni Islam (80%)
  Shia Islam (16%)
  Hinduism (2.1%)
  Christianity (1.3%)
  Other religions (0.6%)

According to the World Factbook, Library of Congress, Oxford University, over 96% of the population of Pakistan is Muslim and the remaining 4% is Hindu, Christian, and others.[92][93][94] Majority of the Muslims practice Sunni with a significant minority of Shi'as.

Nearly all Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to the Hanafi school, although there are some Hanbalis and Ahl-e-Hadees. The majority of Shia Muslims belong to the Ithnā'Ashariyyah branch,[92] while a smaller number practice Ismailism. There are small non-Muslim religious groups, including Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Baháʼís and Zoroastrians (Parsis),[95]

The religious breakdown of the Pakistani population as of Pakistan Census 2017 is as follows:

Recent changes and detailed demographic data[edit]

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics released religious data of Pakistan Census 2017 on 19 May 2021.[96] 96.47% are Muslims, followed by 2.14% Hindus, 1.27% Christians, 0.09% Ahmadis and 0.02% others.

These are some maps of religious minority groups. The 2017 census showed an increasing share in Hinduism, mainly caused by a higher birth rate among the impoverished Hindus of Sindh province. This census also recorded Pakistan's first Hindu-majority district, called Umerkot District, where Muslims were previously the majority.

On the other hand, Christianity in Pakistan, while increasing in raw numbers, has fallen significantly in percentage terms since the last census. This is due to Pakistani Christians having a significantly lower fertility rate than Pakistani Muslims and Pakistani Hindus as well as them being concentrated in the most developed parts of Pakistan, Lahore District (over 5% Christian), Islamabad Capital Territory (over 4% Christian), and Northern Punjab.

The Ahmadiyya movement shrunk in size (both raw numbers and percentage) between 1998 and 2017, while remaining concentrated in Lalian Tehsil, Chiniot District, where approximately 13% of the population is Ahmadiyya.

Here are some maps of Pakistan's religious minority groups as of the 2017 census by district:

Hindu Proportion of each Pakistani District of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census
Christian Proportion of each Pakistani District of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census
Ahmadiyya Proportion of each Pakistani District of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Virtually all people not belonging to one of these minority groups were Sunni or Shia Muslim, with the most religiously homogeneous areas found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistanis around the world[edit]

 Saudi Arabia 4,000,000
 United Arab Emirates 1,600,000
 United Kingdom 1,200,000
 United States 600,410[97]
 Canada 156,300[98]
 Kuwait 190,000
 South Africa 180,000[99]
 Oman 385,000
 Australia 61,913[100]
 Germany 179,668
 Qatar 52,500
 France 50,000
 Norway 39,257[101]
 Denmark 21,000
 New Zealand 10,000
 Ireland 9,501

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Major ethnolonguistic group in Azad Kashmir. Lack of exact numbers of the ethnic population due to the language not being represented in the previous censuses. Upcoming 2022 Census of Pakistan will include Pahari-Pothwari as an option. Baart (2003, p. 10) provides an estimate of 3.8 million, presumably for the population in Pakistan alone. Lothers & Lothers (2010, p. 9) estimate the Pakistani population at well over 2.5 million and the UK diaspora at over 0.5 million. The population in India is reported in Ethnologue (2017) to be about 1 million as of 2000.
  2. ^ Lack of exact numbers of speakers of the language due to not being represented in the previous censuses. Upcoming 2022 Census of Pakistan will include Pahari-Pothwari as an option. Baart (2003, p. 10) provides an estimate of 3.8 million, presumably for the population in Pakistan alone. Lothers & Lothers (2010, p. 9) estimate the Pakistani population at well over 2.5 million and the UK diaspora at over 0.5 million. The population in India is reported in Ethnologue (2017) to be about 1 million as of 2000.
  3. ^ The term Hindki normally refers to a Hindko speaker and Shackle (1980, p. 482) reports that in Pashto the term has slightly pejorative connotations, which are avoided with the recently introduced term Hindkūn.
  1. ^ Ethnolinguistic groups with a population of more than a million each.[1]

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