Demographics of Pakistan

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Pakistan is an Islamic Republic in South Asia, with over 155 million people.

Population data

Demographics of Pakistan, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Geographic distribution

The majority of southern Pakistan's population lives along the Indus River. In the northern half, most of the population lives about an arc formed by the cities of Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Peshawar.

Population and growth

  • Population: 162,419,946 (July 2005 est.)
  • Growth rate: 2.03% (2005 est.)
  • Birth rate: 30.42 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
  • Death rate: 8.45 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
  • Net migration rate: -1.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)


Age structure

  • 0-14 years: 39.6%(male 33,104,311; female 31,244,297)
  • 15-64 years: 56.3% (male 46,759,333; female 44,685,828)
  • 65 years and over: 4.1% (male 3,189,122; female 3,437,055) (2005 est.)

Gender ratios

  • Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.060 male(s)/female
  • 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
  • total population: 1.056 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Human development

Mortality and life expectancy

  • Infant mortality rate: 72.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
  • Life expectancy at birth:
    • total population: 63 years
    • male: 62.04 years
    • female: 64.01 years (2005 est.)


  • Total fertility rate: 4.14 children born/woman (2005 est.)
  • Fertility decline rate: 1.8 children per woman per decade (2nd fastest in world, Feeney and Alam, 2003)



Definition: age 15 and over can read and write.

  • total population: 45.7% (2003 est.)
  • male: 59.8%
  • female: 30.6%

Nationality and ethnicity


  • Noun: Pakistani(s)
  • Adjective: Pakistani

Ethnic groups

File:Pakistan ethnic 80.jpg
Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan and surrounding areas, 1980

Pakistan's ethnic diversity is obvious and yet accurate numbers have been elusive. Rough estimates vary, but the consensus is that the Punjabis are by far the largest group, and that Pukhtuns (also known as Pashtuns, especially in Balochistan, and commonly called Pathans in non-Pukhtun areas) and Sindhis are the next two largest groups. The Punjabi population in Pakistan is estimated to be somewhere between 48% to about 58% of Pakistan's population (if a group called the Seraikis are included). Punjabis dominate the Pakistani military and police as well as the government. The other main ethnic groups include the following: Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants), Brahui, Kashmiri, and the various peoples of the Northern Areas. Muhajirs are estimated to be about 8% of population. In addition, a large number of Afghan refugees came to Pakistan during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and it is estimated that over three million remain, with a large proportion settling in the country.


Muslim 96.3% (Sunni >75%, Shiite 20%) along with a number of smaller sects, Christian 2.5%, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and others 1.2%.

See Also: Hinduism in Pakistan, Christianity in Pakistan



According to the census, Pakistanis identified the following languages as their mother tongues [figures rounded to nearest percent]: Punjabi 48%, Pashto 15%, Sindhi 14%, Siraiki 11%, Urdu 8%, Balochi 4%, others 4%

The majority of Pakistanis can speak or understand two or more languages.

Major languages

The official language of Pakistan is English. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca, although it is spoken as a first language by only 8% of the population. ~48% speak Punjabi as a first language, 15% Pashto, and 33% other languages such as (Sindhi, Siraiki, Balochi, Hindko and Brahui.)


English is the official language, being widely used within the government, by the civil service and the officer ranks of the military. Pakistan's Constitution and laws are written in English. Many schools, and nearly all colleges and universities, use English as the medium of instruction.


Urdu is the national language, the lingua franca of the people. It is widely used, both formally and informally, for personal letters as well as public literature, in the literary sphere and in the popular media. It is a required subject of study in all primary and secondary schools. It is the first language of most Muhajirs.


Spoken as a first language by ~48% of Pakistanis, mostly in Punjab, Pakistan as well as by a large number of people in Karachi. It is an important language since Panjabi is spoken by about half of Pakistanis. However, Punjabi does not have any official status in Pakistan. The exact numbers of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan is hard to find since there are many dialects/languages, such as Seraiki, which some regard as part of Punjabi and others regard as separate language.


Spoken as a first language by 15% of Pakistanis, mostly in the North-West Frontier Province and in Baluchistan as well as by immigrants to the eastern provinces who are often not counted due to census irregularities. Additionally, Afghan refugees are often outside the census count, but appear to be largely Pashto speakers from Afghanistan.


Spoken as a first language by 14% of Pakistanis, mostly in Sindh.


Related to Panjabi (See Classification, below) Spoken as a first language by 11% of Pakistanis, mostly in southern districts of Punjab, Pakistan (see Seraikis).


Spoken as a first language by 4% of Pakistanis, mostly in Balochistan.

Other Languages

Numerous other languages are spoken by relatively small numbers of people, especially in some of the more remote and isolated places in, for example, the Northern Areas of Pakistan [1].



Nearly all of Pakistan's languages are Indo-European languages.

Lahnda dialects

Punjabi, Hindko and Seraiki, all mutually intelligible, are classified by linguists as dialects of Lahnda [2], also spelled as Lehnda. These are also, to a lesser extent, mutually intelligible with Urdu. Added together, speakers of these mutually-intelligible languages make up nearly two-thirds of Pakistan's population.

Iranian family of languages

Pashto and Balochi are classified as members of the Iranian family of languages [3].


Brahui belongs to the Dravidian language family.

See also

External links