The Pakistan Development Review 37 : 4 Part II (Winter 1998) pp. 37:4, 507–522
The Process of Urbanisation in Pakistan, 1951–81
G. M. ARIF and SABIHA IBRAHIM 1. INTRODUCTION The current level of urbanisation in Pakistan, approximately 33 percent in 1998, is not high by global standards.1 But it is commonly linked with unemployment, underemployment, shortage of housing, transport and other infrastructure like water supply and sewerage. Compared to other areas of population dynamics, such as fertility and mortality, studies in the field of urbanisation and internal migration in Pakistan are rather limited. During the last three decades hardly half a dozen studies could be added in the field of urbanisation. These studies are primarily based on data generated by the different censuses.2 After the 1979 Population Labour Force and Migration (PLM) Survey, no nationally representative survey addressing the issue of urbanisation and internal migration could be carried out. Even regional studies could not be conducted during the last two decades.3 The present study is designed to utilise the 1998 census data to investigate urban population growth, pace (or tempo) of urbanisation and components of urban growth for the period of 1981–98. The study has also attempted to analyse G. M. Arif and Sabiha Ibrahim are Senior Research Demographer, and Research Demographer, respectively, at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. Authors’ Note: We are thankful to Dr M. Irfan and Dr Naushin Mahmood, Joint Director and Chief of Research at PIDE, respectively, for their encouragement and guidance to complete this study. We are also grateful to Mr Rafiq Ahmed, Senior Systems Analyst, PIDE, for his valuable assistance in the data analysis. Assistance provided for data entry by Mr Wasim Ahmed, Computer Operator, and Mr Abdul Sattar, Research Associate, PIDE, is highly appreciated. 1 This level, however, is the highest among the South Asian countries. In the early 1990s, the level of urbanisation was 17 percent in Bangladesh, 27 percent in India, 22 percent in Sri Lanka, and only 9 percent in Nepal [Ertur (1994)]. 2 For example, Helbock (1975); Abbasi (1987); Rukanuddin (1989); Pakistan (GOP) (1989); Kiani and Siyal (1991); Butt (1996). 3 In the late 1970s, several studies based on sample surveys, which looked at reasons for migration to large cities, namely Gujranwala, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Faisalabad, were carried out. However, Khan’s study is an exception [Khan (1996)]. He has recently examined the impact of urbanisation on economic integration focusing on Peshawar.
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characteristics of urban system by examining the concentration of urbanisation. However, because of the data scarcity, this study has not explored some other important aspects of urbanisation, such as its determinants and consequences. At the availability of the complete census data, these aspects would be examined in the future. The next section of the paper reports the data sources and limitations, followed by urbanisation and growth of urban population in Section 3. Tempo of urbanisation and components of growth are discussed in Sections 4 and 5. The characteristics of urban system are examined in Section 6. Summary and policy implications are presented in the final section. 2. DATA SOURCES AND LIMITATIONS This study is primarily based on the provisional results of the 1998 census. The trends and patterns of urbanisation estimated from these provisional results have been compared with previous studies based on the 1951, 1961, 1972, and 1981 censuses. Information that is provided in the provisional results of the 1998 census is limited to ‘number of households’ and ‘population by gender’ for provinces, districts, tehsils/talukas and urban settlements. These statistics are not sufficient to carry out a comprehensive study of urbanisation, though they do facilitate to estimate the recent trends and patterns of...
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