Pakistan: A population giant falling behind in its demographic transition

Population and Societies

576, April 2020

To the surprise of many observers, Pakistan’s last census revealed faster-than-expected population increases. High fertility continues to drive substantial population growth in the
world’s fifth most populated country. Anne Goujon, Asif Wazir, and Nicholas Gailey describe Pakistan’s demographic changes over the last 3 decades and offer possible explanations for its slow demographic transition.

Pakistan’s last census in 2017 counted 208 million inhabitants, which translates into an annual population growth rate of 2.4% since the previous census of 1998. The country has experienced a slower demographic transition than most of its neighbours in Asia. Pakistan’s total fertility rate is higher, at 3.6 children per woman in 2017, and is falling more slowly.

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