The fastest growth is often in the least developed countries -those least equipped to sustain increasing demands for food, clean water, health care, housing, education and other necessities.
Many of the bigger cities are growing twice as fast as the rest of the World Population. They are becoming a threat to the health, environment, socio-economic development.
Poverty, population growth and environmental destruction mean more pressure for migration.
- 1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty.
- The 1990s will see the largest increase in the population of developing countries of any decade of history.
- Poverty and population growth combine for environmental degradation.
Pakistan - a developing and one of the most populated country ranks at No.8 in respect of population. With 16.6 million population in 1901, it reached 32.5 million at the time of independence in 1947. Today it is estimated that the population of Pakistan has risen to the tune of 126 million. During the same period, 1901 -1994, the world population grew two times, the population of developing countries increased four times and the population of Pakistan seven times.
If the population continues to grow at the same rate, it will reach 150 million mark by the year 2000. This means that the population of Pakistan will increase nine folds during the current century (1901-2000) as compared to the population of other developing countries which will increase six folds.
The improved health facilities in Pakistan have resulted in steep decline of death rate over the last 80 years while the birth rate has remained largely un-changed.
The total fertility rate in Pakistan is about 5.9, which means that on an average each woman has six children during her reproductive life span. This rate is among the highest in the world, however, death rate has declined quite dramatically during this century largely due to the introduction of modern anti-biotic, the success of public health and sanitation programmes.
The difference between the birth and death rate is the rate of natural increase. In the beginning of the century, the population of areas, now comprising Pakistan, was growing at less than one percent per year. Since the birth rate has remained high, while the death rate has declined, the rate of growth of population increased to about 3% per year. It is estimated at 2.9 percent today. It is quite obvious that if the birth rate remains high while the death rate continues to decline, the growth rate of population would remain higher.
As a result of rapid growth, the population of Pakistan is now composed primarily of young people. In Pakistan, more than 41 % of population is under the ages of 15 and 55% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 64.
Presently, due to over population, Pakistan is facing a lot of problems like poverty, illiteracy, un-employment, lack of housing, health and educational facilities. The situation is driving people to frustration, violence and drug addiction.
Realising the importance of this universal problem, the United Nations has declared July 11, to be observed every year as the World Population Day - a day set aside to reflect on issues of tremendous importance which affect everyone living on this planet.
Accessible family planning service is needed more than ever before to slow down the population growth and meet the reproductive needs of the people.
It is time we realise the importance of the problem and respond to it by making every one realize that the goals peoples welfare and well being shall remain elusive without population planning.
(Contributed by: Ministry of Population Welfare, Government of Pakistan. Demographic details by: National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), Islamabad)
To focus world attention on the alarming growth of population, Pakistan Post is issuing a special postage stamp of Rs. 7/-denomination on \"World Population Day\" on July 11, 1994.