Pakistan Studies

Distribution of Population in Pakistan

(A)Rural/Urban Distribution

The basis of Urbanity of settlement in Pakistan is its administrative organization (metropolitan, municipality,town committee,cantonment, civilizations,satellite town) and size (5,000 persons or over).Pakistan is pre-dominantly an agricultural country,inspite of the developments of the last more than three decades in the field of industry and commerce.Hence,the vast majority of the population lives in rural areas. 

The table below gives the percentage of the population of Pakistan by Arban/Rural areas during the last four censuses: 

Census Year ———————–Percentage of Population Rural 







Percentage figures of urban population to the total since the beggining of regular censuses in the country,indicate a general acceleration of growth of urban population.The rate of natural increase of urban population has been lower than that of rural population.The higher rate of growth of urban population is,therefore,largely a result of rural-urban migration. 

1.Dense Population

With the passage of time ,the village autonomy and solidarity crumbled under impact of economic forces conductive to rural urban migration.The “freedom” of the city or the availability of greater job opportunities in the town acted as a magnet. 

The process of industrialization has involved marked shifts with the use of material and human resources.It has altered the occupational large-scale movement of population from rural to the urban areas. 

Pakistan is essentially dry with a large area of un-productive and barren land.For example,in the hills and sandy wastes of Sindh and Baluchistan,the population is very sparse.By contrast,the fertile Indus plain supports a fairly dense population.Since,with the help of irrigation.It is possible to grow good crops there.The highest density-over 2,000 persons per square kilometer is in Karachi division and 1,984 persons per found in Lahore division.This is,of course,due to that city’s great urban,commercial and industrial development.In the same way,other industrial districts like Faisalabad,Hyderabad,Peshawar,Rawalpindi and Mardan are densely populated. 

In most of the metropoliton centres,improvement of facilities has called to keep pace with the rapid growth of population and these cities can be said overgrown.The distances to be covered are long and the means of transport and the width of the roads in adequate and these cities are also known as city of problems or city of smoke. 

The historical evolution of the cities has been such that they have two distinct parts,the old and the modern.The modern sections have wide roads,impressive lay-out and expensive buildings.The old city suffers from narrow roads and alleys,closest and small buildings and residential over crowding .Also,problems of “Katchi Abadis” are also growing rapidly. 

2.Sparsely Populated Areas

Before the advent of canal irrigation the population of rural areas was very sparse.After the construction of canals,water became available to areas away from the rivers,new settlements grew in the irrigated areas of Sindh and Punjab and there was a continuous rise of population.On the other side ,sparsely populated areas in the country are : 

(i) The Northern and Western hill tracts 

(ii) The dry plateau of Baluchistan 

(iii) The desert areas of Thal,Thar and Cholistan 

In these regions,low rainfall and soll that is either sandy or stone have resulted in barren or waste lands.For these reasons cultivation is difficult.As a result ,the density of population is less than 50 persons per the more barren regions of Kalat Division,there are only 10 persons per and in Chaghi and Kharan,where less than three percent of the area is cultivated,the density falls as low as two.