Pakistan, the fifth most populous country globally, faces unique challenges due to its rapid population growth. With a growth rate of 2.4 percent annually, Pakistan leads Asia in population growth. However, this rapid increase presents several issues that need urgent attention and strategic solutions.
A Snapshot of Population Growth
According to data released by the Population Council on World Population Day, Pakistan’s annual population growth rate is the highest in Asia. This growth rate has positioned Pakistan as the fifth most populous country globally, presenting several challenges, especially in maternal and child health, education, and resource management.
Maternal and Child Health: A Concerning Picture
Statistics related to maternal and child health in Pakistan are particularly worrying. Each year, approximately 11,000 mothers lose their lives during childbirth, and an alarming number of children do not survive to celebrate their first birthday. With each mother in Pakistan giving birth to an average of four children, the population growth shows no signs of slowing down.
“Approximately 11,000 mothers die during childbirth each year.”
Malnutrition is another concern, affecting a significant percentage of children in Pakistan. Roughly 40 percent of children suffer from malnutrition, while 29 percent are underweight. Moreover, 18 percent of children under five years are experiencing stunted growth due to inadequate nutrition.
Challenges in Various Sectors
Pakistan’s rapid population growth poses significant challenges across various sectors. By 2040, the country will need to create over 100 million jobs and build 20 million houses annually to accommodate its growing population.
Furthermore, the country is grappling with a severe water shortage, exacerbated by the increasing population. With the education sector already under strain, an estimated 85,000 additional schools will be needed by 2040. Disturbingly, one in three children in Pakistan is currently not receiving an education.
Comparisons with Neighboring Countries
Despite the similar cultural and economic contexts, India and Bangladesh have managed to control their population growth more effectively than Pakistan. The use of contraceptives in Pakistan is considerably low, with only 34 out of 100 couples utilizing them. Consequently, Pakistani couples have, on average, one unplanned child.
Moreover, the unemployment rate among individuals aged 20 to 24 stands at 12 percent.
Towards a Sustainable Future: The Need for Action
The data underscores the urgent need for effective interventions to tackle the challenges posed by rapid population growth in Pakistan. Areas requiring immediate attention include healthcare services, family planning initiatives, malnutrition, and education.
Healthcare services need to be improved, particularly concerning maternal and child health. Family planning initiatives need to be promoted to control the population growth rate. Simultaneously, steps need to be taken to address malnutrition among children and expand educational opportunities, ensuring a brighter future for the country’s populace.
Addressing these challenges is not just crucial for improving the quality of life for Pakistan’s citizens but also for ensuring the country’s sustainable development in the future.