Despite low growth rate, Karachi remains most populous city

ISLAMABAD: Karachi continued to be the most populous city of Pakistan but its population stood at only 14.9 million, which is far below the number anyone expected.

In the past 19 years, there was a 60 per cent increase in Karachi’s population, compared with a 116 per cent increase in Lahore’s population, which rose to 11.126 million people by 2017, according to the provisional results of the Sixth Population Census.

Followed by Peshawar (100.4 per cent) and Islamabad (91.8 per cent), Lahore witnessed the highest growth rate in Pakistan, according to a report.

Karachi’s population increased from 9.339 million to 14.91 million – a net addition of 5.56 million people– during the past 19 years.

According to the provincial results, Lahore’s population increased from 5.143 million to 11.126 million, showing an addition of almost 6 million more people.

Karachi and Lahore were the only two cities of the country whose population exceeds 10 million.

Of the 10 most crowded cities, five are in Punjab, two in Sindh, and one each in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad Capital Territory. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics categorised cities as ‘notified urban areas’, which is why there are inconsistencies between population estimates that may include suburbs of the major cities.

The third-largest city was the Faisalabad Metropolitan Corporation, with 3.2 million people. The net addition of 1.2 million people in the past 19 years – or a 59.43 per cent increase since 1998 was reported.

The fourth-highest number of people—2.098 million—was hosted by Rawalpindi city.

In 1998, Rawalpindi’s population was 1.4 million. It grew by 48.8 per cent in the past 19 years.

The Gujranwala Metropolitan Corporation held the fifth place with 2.027 million people. In the past 19 years, its population increased by 78.9 per cent or 894,000.

Peshawar stood at the sixth place with 1.97 million people. In 1998, the provincial capital’s population was only 983,000. The reason for the increase in population could be migration from the war-torn Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Multan, hosting 1.872 million people, was the seventh major city. Its population grew by 56.4 per cent or 675,000 since 1998.

Hyderabad, hosting 1.733 million people, was the eighth-most populous city. During the past 19 years, there was a net addition of 566,000 people or 48.5 per cent, which was the lowest growth rate of cities in the top 10.

Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation’s population increased 91.8 per cent to 1.015 million people.

Quetta city, hosting 1.001 million people, was the 10th-biggest major city. During the past 19 years, its population increased by 77 per cent or 436,000.